AbbVie CEO Gonzalez secured $21.6M in year marked by megamerger, Humira decline

AbbVie had a busy year in 2019 as it looked to close a $63 billion merger with Allergan while dealing with a sales decline for megablockbuster Humira abroad. Despite his wheeling and dealing––and the potential for a bright future ahead––that busy year didn't translate to a big pay bump for CEO Rick Gonzalez. 

Gonzalez, AbbVie's helmsman since its launch in 2013, netted $21.61 million in total pay in 2019, a modest increase from the $21.28 million he secured in 2018, according to a proxy filing

Gonzalez's base salary remained steady at $1.65 million with $8.89 million and $2.25 million stock and option awards, respectively––both decreases from the previous year. Gonzalez's pay came out higher primarily due to a nearly $3 million increase in pension value, which AbbVie tied to a change in "actuarial assumptions" and benefit accrual. 

Despite the small bump in pay, AbbVie said Gonzalez hit the company's internal marks for the year, including driving long-term business goals, advancing mid- and late-stage pipeline assets, driving employee engagement and helping AbbVie "advance our transformation to a biopharmaceutical culture."

RELATED: AbbVie, Allergan merger may face regulatory delay due to COVID-19 despite drug sell-off: report

Ranking at No. 7 on FiercePharma's list of the top 20 highest paid execs in biopharma in 2018, Gonzalez oversaw a hectic 12 months at AbbVie that included arranging the pending merger with Allergan, shepherding two potential blockbusters––psoriasis med Skyrizi and rheumatoid arthritis drug Rinvoq––to market, and handling the sales decline of Humira abroad.