Daniel Vasella - Novartis
Total Compensation: $27 million
Details: Although Novartis official documents place Daniel Vasella's 2010 pay at 8 million francs, or $8.5 million, the company didn't consider his $12.8 million one-time retirement payout. Ethos, an activist shareholder company, determined Vasella's total pay for 2010 was 25 million francs, or $27 million. In multiple previous years, Vasella has made upwards of $21 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Vasella's final CEO paycheck--he handed the reins over to Joe Jiminez in January 2010--left stockholders in a frenzy. At the company's annual meeting, 38 percent rejected his compensation. Novartis has upheld Vasella's and Jiminez's compensation, stating they are comparable to those received by other Big Pharma CEOs, regardless of the comparison to other Swiss firms. "We urge the board of directors to review the remuneration system and to submit it again to the vote at the 2012 annual general meeting of shareholders," said Ethos executive director Dominique Biedermann to the WSJ.
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