J&J's Weldon due for $143M retirement package

A 40-year career at Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) can really pay off, especially if you cap it with a 10-year stint as CEO. That's the company's explanation for the whopping $143 million retirement package owed to William Weldon (pictured), who steps down as chief executive next month.

The total comprises $95.1 million in deferred and long-term compensation, plus pension benefits now worth $48.4 million, to be paid out monthly post-retirement. To be clear, that won't be in April, when Alex Gorsky takes the CEO's chair, because Weldon is sticking around as chairman. However and whenever it's paid, Weldon's pension is bigger than those of than 90% of CEOs at S&P 500 companies, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"This is a compensation owed to him that has accumulated over a 40-year career, 10 of which he was the CEO of the company," spokesman Al Wasilewski told Reuters. Some of the total was built up via a program that lets executives defer salary and bonus pay, Wasilewski pointed out. The filing put that amount at less than $21.4 million, Reuters said. More than $70 million is Weldon's balance in an old cash-incentive plan the company has since replaced, J&J told the WSJ.

Weldon is stepping aside--or moving upstairs, however you want to characterize it--at a time when J&J is still fighting the fallout from a series of consumer-drug and device recalls, negotiating a $1 billion-plus settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, struggling with a shortage of its contracted-out cancer drug Doxil, and facing thousands of lawsuits from patients who have used its drugs or devices. It's also a time, however, when the company can celebrate the launch of new drugs such as the blood thinner Xarelto and the prostate cancer pill Zytiga.

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