Glaxo investors bless exec-pay plans

We're all familiar with the brouhaha that occasionally attended Jean-Pierre Garnier's annual pay package. The ex-chief of GlaxoSmithKline drew shareholder ire for bonuses and stock awards they considered too rich for the circumstances. Well, the current CEO says he wants none of that (controversy, not bonuses). He promised investors, The Guardian reports, that his pay won't go "out of bounds."

So, at Glaxo's annual meeting, shareholders backed Witty's new pay package, with few investors challenging the company's compensation plans. Perhaps that's because Glaxo limited Witty's stock bonus to a maximum of five times his salary. (Garnier, in contrast, could collect up to seven-and-a-half times his salary in bonus shares.) Or maybe it's the fact that the company reached out the shareholders for input on exec comp.

"We spoke to our shareholders," Witty said at the meeting. "They wanted to see a compensation package commensurate with other very large U.K.-based companies. We are not trying to chase the global pharmaceutical industry." Good for shareholders, maybe, but somewhat disappointing for Witty, whose 2008 pay was decidedly also-ran on the FiercePharma list of Top 15 Big Pharma Paychecks. Compared to Johnson & Johnson's Bill Weldon and his $29.4 million package, Witty's $2.7 million looks like pocket change.

- see the article in The Guardian
- check out the Top 15 Big Pharma Paychecks