Novartis investor group urges vote against Vasella's pay

Daniel Vasella (photo) is wearing a bulls-eye again. The Novartis ($NVS) chairman is drawing fire for collecting a multimillion-dollar compensation package, just a few months after activists literally showed up on his doorstep to protest company layoffs. And it's far from the first time that Vasella has faced indignation over his pay.

The latest complaints come from the shareholder group Ethos, which is calling for Novartis shareholders to vote against compensation committee members up for re-election to the board. Lodging votes against the two men--William Brody and Srikant Datar--would be a way for shareholders to object to Vasella's 2011 compensation of $14.8 million during a year in which the company has no official scheduled say-on-pay vote. Ethos director Dominique Biedermann says Vasella earns "a million Swiss francs a month, which goes too far."

Some 38% of the Swiss drugmaker's shareholders voted last year against Vasella's 2010 compensation plan, which included a $12.2 million one-time retirement payment that Ethos deemed "scandalous" at the time. In 2010, a Swiss proxy advisor took issue with Vasella's 2009 bonus of almost $6 million, saying it was about $3.8 million above par.

- read the Reuters news

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