Johnson & Johnson CEO William Weldon (pictured) got a pay boost last year, despite the company's ongoing problems with recalls, lawsuits and manufacturing problems. The company's board gave Weldon a $3.1 million bonus, Dow Jones reports, a 55% increase over 2010's $1.98 million. The soon-to-be ex-CEO took a bonus cut that year because of sales lost to consumer-drug recalls.
J&J ($JNJ) disclosed the pay figures in its annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. As Dow Jones points out, the company didn't explain why Weldon got a bigger bonus for 2011. Indeed, the product recalls continue--the latest one was announced earlier this month--and the company is not only fighting off patient lawsuits over its antipsychotic Risperdal, but negotiating a settlement with the Justice Department that's said to top $1 billion.
Weldon has been a perennial top earner among pharma CEOs. Even after his reduced bonus, Weldon's total compensation for 2010 came in at more than $28 million, placing him at No. 1 in FiercePharma's ranking of executive pay. In fact, last fall, a shareholder sued the company, saying Weldon's pay over the past 5 years hasn't been warranted, given the government investigations, recalls and an FDA consent decree.
Meanwhile, another shareholder--no less than Warren Buffett--has J&J on his sell-if-necessary list. Berkshire Hathaway will hold on to its J&J stock for now, Reuters reports, but the company "obviously has messed up in a lot of ways in the last few years," Buffett told CNBC. So, J&J would be on his list of stock to sell if he needed to raise capital, he said.
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