J&J's Duato, Peterson nab hefty retention bonuses as CEO Gorsky's pay hits $29M

Thanks to target beating financials and more, J&J pharma chief Joaquin Duato racked up $19 million in reported pay for 2017. (Johnson & Johnson)

That Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky got a bit of a raise in 2017 isn't all that surprising. After all, his compensation package has increased bit by bit over the past several years.

More notable are the boosts enjoyed by two of Gorsky's team members. Pharma chief Joachin Duato's compensation rocketed by $9 million to $19 million. Sandra Peterson—J&J’s EVP overseeing supply chain, operations, and technology, plus medical devices—saw her pay jump by about the same amount to just over $17 million.

What changed? According to the company’s recently filed proxy statement, both executive vice presidents nabbed special retention awards of 81,000 restricted stock units last February.

The proxy details both executives’ accomplishments for the year, and according to the filing, Duato beat all of J&J's financial goals for its pharmaceutical unit. The pharma chief also got credit for the company's buyout of Actelion and his chairmanship at PhRMA. Duato has been J&J’s EVP of Pharma since April 2016 and worldwide chairman since 2011.

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Meanwhile, Peterson made strides with medical devices, a unit that has been plagued by litigation and increased competition in recent years. She addressed “quality, execution, and competitiveness" in the unit, among other things, the proxy said. Plus, the company's vision care business beat its financial goals for the year and wrapped up three acquisitions.

Back to Gorsky. His stock and option awards increased by $2.7 million for the year while his incentive pay actually fell by a little more than $1 million. The value of his pension ratcheted upward by more than $1 million, and together with other compensation of $236,000, his 2017 total came to $29.8 million.

And the bit-by-bit rise? It’s all relative in the realm of executive pay. Gorsky’s 2017 number puts his compensation for the year at about $6 million higher than his total in 2015.

It also puts Gorsky near the top of the pharma CEO pay ranking for 2017, with multiple proxies yet to be filed. Allergan CEO Brent Saunders is currently leading the field with a 2017 pay package worth $32.8 million. Duato, measured against last year's executive pay ranking at FiercePharma, would have come in eighth place industrywide.