Is bad-news Genzyme paying CEO too much?

When a company hits the skids, fingers start to point. And lately, fingers have been pointing pretty forcefully at Henri Termeer (photo), CEO of the ill-fated company Genzyme. Naturally, inquiring minds want to know how Termeer has fared financially as his company has been suffering.

The answer? Not too shabbily. Termeer got about $50.8 million in compensation over the past three years, BNet reports. That's about $14 million a year at a company that posts some $4 billion in annual sales. Companies many times that large often don't pay their CEOs that much. And that's even when shareholders are happy. Of course, Genzyme shareholders aren't happy. The company had to shut down production of its high-tech meds in June after FDA inspectors found viral contamination at a Boston-area plant. The company spent the summer and early fall getting that plant back up to speed. And it seemed to have succeeded. But then the FDA sent out a warning that some vials of those drugs were contaminated by particles of stainless steel, fibrous material, and rubber.

A few days later, FDA cited even more quality control problems at the troubled plant, delaying its hoped-for approval of a large-batch version of its Myozyme drug, known as Lumizyme. Finally, it spiked development of a new-and-improved version of its kidney drug. Quite a trifecta of bad news.

Interestingly, as BNet Pharma points out, Carl Icahn has recently boosted his stake in the company. And Icahn isn't one to suffer foolish spending lightly. Will Icahn home in on Termeer's pay? We'll have to wait and see.

- read the BNet post