AbbVie chief racks up $22.6M in 2017 pay, complete with $600K in personal jet use

airplane wing
AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez spent more than 98% more on personal air travel in 2016 than the company's CFO and R&D chief combined. (Pixabay)

If you thought AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez spent a lot on personal air travel last year, check out 2017’s numbers.

After passing the half-million mark for the first time in 2016, last year, Gonzalez spent close to $600,000—$592,030, to be precise. CFO Bill Chase and R&D Chief  Michael Severino, for perspective, spent just $11,573 combined, which is less than 2% of Gonzalez’s tally.

Of course, it wasn’t just more air travel that drove Gonzalez’s pay bump. The 10.5% rise in personal air travel spending—2016’s came out to $535,834—was just part of an overall boost in pay for Gonzalez, who racked up $22.6 million in 2017 compensation.

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That sum is about 8% greater than the $20.97 million he took home the year prior, which already had him safely on the list of biopharma’s highest-paid CEOs.

Gonzalez's pay grew in every category, with none of them taking a giant leap. The numbers increased most in the incentive pay category, where he saw a $731,250 boost to $4.3 billion. In addition, Gonzalez’s salary increased by more than $38,000 to $1,638,462; his stock awards jumped by $287,506 to hit $9.6 million; and his option awards crept higher by close to $200,000 to touch $2.6 million.

Other compensation—the category that houses air travel charges as well as corporate car expenses and security spending ballooned by $133,981 to reach $993,197. Meanwhile, his pension inched up to $3.5 million from $3.2 million.

RELATED: AbbVie hikes 2018 forecast and promises shareholder rewards, thanks to U.S. tax changes

It was a solid year for AbbVie, especially when it came to holding off generic competition to best-selling drug Humira. Last September, the company struck an accord with biosimilar rival Amgen over already-approved Humira copy Amjevita, which the Big Biotech will hold off launching until 2023. Humira ended the year with $4.9 billion in Q4 sales, up 12% from last year's Q4 haul. Other products stood out, too, including pangenotypic hep C therapy Mavyret. 

If Gonzalez’s compensation expands again in 2018, though, he won’t be the only one. Thanks to new U.S. tax laws, AbbVie’s tax rate is set to plummet to just 9% from 20%, and the company said in January that it intends to put some of the savings toward nonexecutive employee compensation and shareholder returns.