5. Richard Gonzalez - AbbVie

Richard Gonzalez
Chairman and CEO, AbbVie

Total Compensation: $18.177 billion

Professional Profile: Richard Gonzalez, or Rick, 60, spent more than 30 years at Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) in a wide variety of positions before he was handpicked to be the CEO of the pharma spinoff that became AbbVie ($ABBV). He has worked in commercial operations, research and development, and manufacturing. He was even president of the device side venture investment group for a while. For 18 months leading up to his present gig, he was executive vice president of the pharmaceutical products group. Clearly, he has an impressive lineup of experience. What he doesn't have is a college degree, although an "administrative error" created a small dust-up when he was named AbbVie CEO since the Abbott website had credited him with a bachelor's degree from the University of Houston and a master's degree from the University of Miami. The $18 million payout he received in his first year on the job was more than twice the $7.95 million he got when he was running a unit of Abbott.

Company Profile: What was so special in 2013 that Gonzalez's pay more than doubled from his last year with Abbott and put him in the top 5 of biopharma CEO compensation? Keep in mind, his company is essentially a one-product player that doesn't even make the top 10 of Big Pharma by revenue. The company said he nailed the targets set for performance, things like earnings per share, earnings and revenue. AbbVie spokeswoman Adelle Infante said in an email that in its first year under his guidance, AbbVie shareholders realized a 60% return. "Mr. Gonzalez's compensation reflects his performance and leadership during AbbVie's extremely successful first year," she said.

The company's key product is Humira, currently the top-selling drug by annual revenue in the market. And AbbVie managed to keep the needed sales of the drug strong while it pilots development of a promising hepatitis C therapy and other drugs through its pipeline. Sales of the rheumatoid arthritis drug were close to $10.7 billion in 2013, posting quarterly leaps of 13% to top $3 billion. That gain follows the drug's quarterly revenue increases of 16%, 13%, 19% and 13% in the four consecutive quarters, respectively.

AbbVie was beaten to the hepatitis C treatment market by Gilead Sciences ($GILD), whose Sovaldi is raking in the cash, but AbbVie submitted its application with the FDA in April for its promising all-oral treatment, which is seen as a contender. -- Eric Palmer (email | Twitter)

For more:
Special Report: The 10 best-selling drugs of 2013 - Humira | Top 10 rheumatoid arthritis drugs 2013
AbbVie heads to the FDA with its hep C combo in a race with Gilead, Merck
Humira stays strong for AbbVie as drugmaker scrambles for new offerings

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5. Richard Gonzalez - AbbVie