Union urges votes against CEO pay at Pfizer, J&J

A public employees union has pharma CEO pay in its sights. After lobbying for shareholders' rights to have a "say on pay" at public companies, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is calling on investors to vote against the pay packages awarded to Johnson & Johnson CEO William Weldon (photo), as well as Pfizer CEO Ian Read (photo) and ex-CEO Jeff Kindler (photo), Pharmalot reports.

According to the association, whose 1.6 million members are part of pension funds together worth $1 trillion, J&J's Weldon has collected $194 million in pay over the past nine years, while J&J's stock declined six percent. Rather than holding Weldon accountable for the "predicaments" he helped to create at J&J, the groups says, the company's board praises him for "leading the company out of trouble." Weldon gets "the credit for good news...[but] no blame for bad news."

Of course, J&J has faced plenty of predicaments lately. A steady drumbeat of recalls that prompted a plant shutdown, an FDA consent decree, government market probes, bribery investigations and patient lawsuits are all plaguing the pharma giant. But J&J's board praised Weldon's leadership through difficult times--and granted him a raise for 2011.

AFSCME has complaints about Pfizer's CEO pay as well. Kindler collected $72 million in compensation while he led Pfizer. But at the same time, the stock value fell by more than one-third, and Pfizer lost some $68 billion in market value, the group says. "Pfizer's CEO pay is indefensible," President Gerald McEntee said in a statement. "CEOs should not get massive rewards after shareholder value is destroyed on their watch. This lavish reward for failure is simply madness."

- get the release from AFSCME
- see AFSCME's background on Weldon (.pdf)
- get more from Pharmalot

Special Report: Top 10 Pharma CEO salaries of 2009

Suggested Articles

BMS’s Opdivo has plenty of competition in its current bladder cancer indication—so it’s hoping to strike out on its own in a new area of the disease.

The Japanese approval, under the brand name Jyseleca, came a month after an FDA complete response letter that asked Gilead for more data.

The Trump Administration has opened the doors for Florida and other states to import prescription drugs from Canada—despite industry objections.