Abbott execs take pay cuts, but White still nabs $24M

While we were busy dissecting Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) CEO William Weldon's $143 million retirement package, his perennial partner at the top of the pharma executive pay list was smarting from a pay cut. Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) chief Miles White (pictured) saw his 2011 compensation drop by 6%, Crain's Chicago Business reports, and other Abbott execs lost ground as well.

But White still managed to rake in $24 million, so the pain from that 6% cut can't be too severe. His 2010 compensation amounted to $25.6 million, the third-highest of any CEO in the industry (Weldon was at No. 1 with $28.7 million). And his pay cut was the smallest of any Abbott executives, Crain's reports; Richard Gonzalez, the EVP chosen to take the help of Abbott's spun-off pharma division, took a 27% cut, to $5.6 million. CFO Thomas Freyman lost 17%, with $7.9 million in 2011 pay, while General Counsel Laua Schumacher took a 22% hit to $5.6 million.

White's compensation would have suffered more, had he not proposed splitting Abbott into two companies by hiving off the pharma division. He collected a $4.2 million bonus, higher than his bonus target, in part because of "leading the process to establish two separately traded public companies," the proxy said. Bonuses for Freyman and Gonzalez also beat their targets, but their total compensation declined on decreases in options and shares.

Abbott rank-and-file employees can take some solace in the fact that they'll get an average 3% pay increase for 2012. The executive team has decided to wave off any increase in base pay this year.

- check out the Abbott proxy
- see the Crain's piece

Special Report: Miles White - 2010 CEO Pay