Merck chief's pay rose more than 50% to $24.6M

Color Richard Clark (photo) happy. Merck's former CEO (and current chairman) collected a bigger pay envelope last year--his final one as chief executive. The pay hike was either 55 percent or 65 percent, depending upon who's counting, but either way it amounts to a substantial raise. The total, according to Dow Jones: $24.6 million, more than Clark's previous record of $22.3 million, which was set in 2008, and a 55 percent increase over 2009. AP puts the total at $17.9 million, for a 65 percent increase.

In fact, Merck's top leaders all got big increases for 2010. Current CEO Kenneth Frazier (photo) saw his total pay rise by 88 percent to $9.4 million. Some of that increase can be attributed to his promotion to president in May 2010; he had been executive vice president and president of global human health. CFO Peter Kellogg nabbed a 72 percent pay hike, giving him a total of $6.1 million.

Of course, in 2010, these executives were leading a larger company than they ran in 2009. Merck's $42 billion merger with Schering-Plough closed in November 2009. And as the Associated Press points out, 2009's stock awards were depressed by fluctuations in Merck's stock price, also depressing the basis for comparison.

- see the SEC filing
- read the Dow Jones report
- get more from the AP

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