19. Mark Alles, Celgene
2018 pay: $16.22 million
2017 pay: $13.11 million
Given that Celgene’s share price fell 39% in 2018—paving the way to a $74 billion buyout by Bristol-Myers Squibb—CEO Mark Alles may not appear to be a likely candidate for a pay hike.
So in addition to snagging $16.2 million in total compensation in 2018, Alles could bag another $27.9 million if he leaves after the merger closes this year. BMS shareholders approved the Celgene acquisition in April, but the company has yet to announce management choices for the combined entity.
Alles’ 2018 compensation, revealed in the company’s 10K (PDF), may have raised some eyebrows on Wall Street in light of the stock-price decline. Alles, who became Celgene’s CEO in 2016, saw his base salary boosted by 5% to $1.36 million, and he netted a $2.79 million bonus. His target bonus had been 125% of earned salary when he took over as CEO, but the board hiked that to 150% in 2018.
Why such largesse on the part of Celgene’s board? The company, after all, suffered its fair share of slip-ups in 2018, including a refuse-to-file notice from the FDA on its multiple sclerosis drug candidate, ozanimod, and a failed endeavor to pair its multiple myeloma blockbuster Revlimid with Rituxan to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Despite those disappointments, Celgene outpaced its internal financial goals for the year with $15.28 billion in total sales and $9.06 in adjusted earnings per share. It also bulked up the pipeline by acquiring Impact Biomedicines and CAR-T developer Juno Therapeutics, the company pointed out in the 10K.
The board put a 56% weight on financial targets in calculating bonuses, with the rest coming from “selected strategic corporate objectives,” so those achievements amounted to a big bonus for Alles.
Alles also got $6.3 million in stock awards and $5.7 million in options—with those amounts rising by $1 million and $1.5 million respectively over 2017.
Alles’ future with BMS may be up in the air, but his financial security is all but assured, thanks to a stroke of good timing on the part of Celgene’s board. It overhauled the company’s change-in-control severance plan in mid-December of last year—just weeks before BMS revealed its acquisition plan. Before that, there was no plan in place stipulating how Alles would be compensated if Celgene were to be acquired and he found himself out of a job.