Wyeth, Pfizer chiefs see pay decline

Here's the latest installment in the exciting serial entitled "Pharma Paycheck, or Which Way But Up?" For recently retired Wyeth CEO Bob Essner (photo), the answer appears to be "down." He scored a cool $24.1 million, according to the WSJ Health Blog, but that's a big drop from $32.9 million in 2006. His replacement, Bernard Poussot (photo), saw his package decline to $12.7 million from $14.4 million. Though their base salaries both increased, their stock awards fell considerably; in Essner's case, to $10.2 million from $18.2 million. (Note: The Associated Press reported a 9 percent pay hike for Essner, pegging his total package at $20.1 million, perhaps because the WSJ uses the value of options on the day they were granted and the AP estimates the value of options and stock awards granted during the year).

Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler lost some ground, too, the Health Blog calculates: his 2006 pay came in at $9.8 million, and in 2007 that dropped to $9.5 million. In the scheme of Big Pharma CEOs, those numbers don't look too outrageous (though laid-off Pfizer types might argue, and the AP's numbers look different). By contrast, the company handed two retiring officials a combined $56.8 million--almost six times Kindler's pay. Research chief John La Mattina got an exit package of $22.6 million when he departed under the torcetrapib failure cloud. Vice Chairman David Shedlarz, who retired, walked away with $34.2 million, most of which came from the company's retirement plans.

- check out the Health Blog item on Wyeth
- see the AP's numbers on Wyeth
- read the Health Blog on Pfizer's paydays
- find the AP's (higher) estimates of Kindler's pay

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