AstraZeneca shareholders pitch a fit about pay

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot saw his pay fall last year along with the company's fortunes, but that didn't keep large blocks of shareholders from displaying their distaste for the company's compensation outlay for him and board members. Just short of 40% voted against the U.K. drugmaker's pay program. A spokesperson told The Guardian that the company had not gotten much indication in advance of the vote that shareholders might be miffed over compensation, but that "it is our priority to carefully analyze it and talk to our shareholders to fully understand any concerns." Soriot's total pay package of £3.34 million ($5.6 million) fell from £3.69 million in 2012, but for this year he was granted a 3% raise on his basic salary to £1.13 million and the potential to bag £4.35 million more in stock and cash bonuses. Shareholders also showed their displeasure with returning board member Jean-Philippe Courtois, with 43% of shares cast against him. The Guardian says the audit committee member often missed committee meetings while still collecting his director's fee. Of course, if reports are true and Pfizer ($PFE) is preparing a $100 billion buyout run for AstraZeneca ($AZN), then all the attention may shift from Soriot's pay to his golden parachute. Story