13. Ian Read

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Ian Read, CEO of one of the world’s biggest drugmakers, who ranked fourth in 2013 compensation, didn't make to top 10 in 2016.

Ian Read
Chairman and CEO, Pfizer
2016 compensation: $17.32 million

It says something about biopharma executive pay that Ian Read, CEO of one of the world’s biggest drugmakers, ranked fourth in 2013 with compensation of about $19 million, and these days, that amount wouldn’t have scored a slot in the top 10. In fact, even at $23 million-plus in 2014, Read only stacked up in 10th place against his peers.

Why? The ascendance of big pay packages in biotech. As biotech companies—and other generous drugmakers on the smaller side—have jumped onto the list, they’ve pushed down many pharma types, including Read.

For 2016, Read collected $17.32 million, a bit less than his $17.98 million in reported compensation in 2015. That’s not because Pfizer accounted for less, though; the company totted up performance-award totals higher than those reported for 2015.

It was a tumultuous year for the company, which placed second on FiercePharma’s list of drugmakers ranked by revenue, at $52.8 billion. Two big decisions stand out: In April, the company officially gave up on buying Allergan, after new rules on tax inversions diminished the payoff of moving its domicile to Ireland. And in September, after several years of mulling a company breakup, Read said Pfizer had decided to stay as-is.

After the Allergan acquisition collapse, Read’s team engineered a couple of sizable deals—the $14 billion buyout of the cancer specialist Medivation and a $5.2 billion buyout of drugmaker Anacor. The latter’s eczema drug, Eucrisa, won approval, and two of Pfizer’s cancer meds won new indications. Meanwhile, the company’s newer drugs delivered enough in sales to offset a decline for blockbuster vaccine Prevnar. 

Read’s share awards totaled $3.98 million, up from just over $2 million the previous year; the figure is calculated as a fraction of the value of three years’ worth of incentive shares. His option awards, also based on a three-year calculation, totaled $6.63 million, a increase from the $5.84 million accounted for in 2015.

As for real-time numbers, Read’s base salary ticked up to $1.9 million from $1.86 million, but his non-equity incentive pay dropped by $300,000 to $4 million.

Read’s other compensation grew to $471,510 from $388,036. Most of that total derived from contributions to Read’s company savings plan. He did rack up $147,798 worth of personal aircraft use, however, and his car, financial counseling and home security costs added up to more than $40,000.

Offsetting the increases was one big shift: Read’s pension value growth amounted to just over $331,000 in 2016, compared with $3.59 million in 2015. According to Pfizer’s proxy, that’s because Read decided to shift $30.1 million of his pension plan benefits to the company’s supplemental savings plan.

For 2017, Read’s salary as of April 1 was $1.97 million, and he’s targeted for incentive pay of $2.75 million.

13. Ian Read