Roche CEO pay rises as profits fall

Here's a new angle on the Roche-Genentech fracas: Though the Swiss drugmaker saw sales and net income decline--and its stock drop by about one-third--in 2008, CEO Severin Schwan (photo) got a pay boost of almost 50 percent. What's more, Schwan and his team failed to close a deal with partner Genentech, despite six months of negotiating with its board and hunting for financing, BNet Pharma points out.

Nonetheless, Schwan's pay packet grew by, well, a packet. That's 1.6 million Swiss francs, or about $1.4 million. Total 2008 compensation? Some $4.5 million (5.2 million francs), up from $3.1 million (3.6 million francs) in 2007. That's triple what he took home in 2006; back then his compensation was all of $1.4 million or so (1.7 million francs).

Now it's true that $4.5 million in CEO pay pales in comparison with the lavish compensation packages of U.S. execs. But it's the percentage increase--at a time when the company's leading indicators trended downward--that raises our eyebrows. We wonder what Roche's shareholders think.

- read the post at BNet pharma