'Merger success' nets Allergan chief Saunders an extra $14M-plus in 2015 pay

Allergan CEO Brent Saunders' total pay package may look like it's dropped since 2014, thanks to some front-loaded equity awards last year. But don't worry too much--in 2015, he and his fellow Allergan execs took home hefty cash incentive payouts and "merger success" bonuses.

Saunders' pay totaled $21.6 million for the year, down from $36.6 million the year prior. But considering that the $25.9 million in stock awards and $8.6 million in options padding last year's sum were meant to cover 2015 through 2017, he made out pretty well.

In every other category, Saunders' tally rose--especially incentive pay, where he saw his payout shoot up to $20.2 million from 2014's $1.54 million. The reasons? He pocketed $6 million based on Allergan's ($AGN) financial performance, and another $14.25 million in "merger success awards" after hitting cost-savings targets associated with the company's Forest Laboratories buyout. (He wasn't alone, either--company chairman and former CEO Paul Bisaro, for one, netted nearly $10 million in merger awards, too.)

That wasn't all for Saunders, who took home a couple of other perks in 2015. His base salary doubled, rising from $500,000 to $1 million, and he saw a $224 change in pension value. On top of that, his other compensation--including use of the company aircraft and a personal car and driver--hit $315,325 after reaching just $55,187 the year prior.

What comes next for Saunders, though, remains to be seen--at least in the compensation department. He's slated to take on the COO role at Pfizer ($PFE) once it folds in Allergan, which it agreed to do late last year with a $160 billion agreement. And down the line, that post could put him on deck for another CEO post--especially if Pfizer splits into two companies, a move it has foreshadowed now for years.

- read Allergan's proxy filing