Israeli scholars sue Teva for keeping exec pay under wraps

Big drugmakers open the books on executive pay every year. That's how we know Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) CEOs have ranked at or near the top each of the past four years. There's one exception to that rule, however, from a company that aspires to join the ranks of Big Pharma by 2015--Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA).

Like some other Israeli companies with shares listed in two countries, Teva keeps the details of its individual executives' pay a secret. It reports compensation for its top managers and directors in total, but not person by person. That approach has become standard among dual-listed companies, Haaretz reports.

But now, two legal scholars at Tel Aviv University are challenging that practice. Law professors Sharon Hannes and Ehud Kamar have asked a Tel Aviv court to allow a class action suit against Teva, to force the company to reveal the numbers. They say that Teva has led other dual-listed companies by example, keeping executive compensation details out of the public eye.

What's more, Hannes and Kumar say that Teva isn't exempt from reporting, even under a dual-listing law that went into effect in 2000. U.S. law requires disclosure; so do Israeli regulations, they say.

Teva, on the other hand, says its disclosures--or lack thereof--are completely proper. "Teva has acted and is acting in accordance with all reporting rules that apply to it as a dual-listed company in Israel and the United States," the company told Haaretz. "We are studying the details of the petition and will respond accordingly."

- read the story from Haaretz

Special Report: Top 10 Pharma CEO Salaries of 2011