Chairman and CEO, AbbVie
2016 compensation: $20.97 million
AbbVie’s Richard Gonzalez has been a regular entry on FiercePharma’s executive pay list ever since the creation of the company, which spun off from Abbott Laboratories in 2013 with Gonzalez at the helm. And he scored a bit of a raise last year, to $20.97 million from $20.81 million, thanks to an increase in incentive pay, a slight bump in base salary—and a boost to his personal air travel, which rang in at more than half a million dollars.
Gonzalez’s salary boost amounted to just $12,000, which isn’t a lot in the scheme of CEO pay packages. His base pay came to $1.6 million for the year.
The biggest difference-makers were that jump in incentive pay—which went from just under $3 million to $3.6 million—and pension value, which vaulted to $3.2 million from $2.5 million. Incentive pay is part of Gonzalez’s take-home, of course, while pension value is a long-term accounting figure.
Not so for Gonzalez’s in-kind compensation, boons collected during the calendar year. The value of Gonzalez's perks shot up to $859,216 from $791,063. One big reason? Personal air travel, which climbed to $535,834. CFO Bill Chase, by contrast, cost AbbVie just $112 worth of flying for the year. Gonzalez got around on land, too, netting $19,362 in corporate care benefits compared with last year’s $17,303.
That’s not to say Gonzalez took home more in every compensation category. His stock awards shrank to $9.3 million from $9.7 million, and the difference in his option awards—which slid to $2.4 million from $3.2 million—was even greater.
2016 was a tricky year for AbbVie in some regards, with hepatitis C combo Viekira Pak falling hard on new competition from Merck and powerhouse Humira missing some quarterly estimates, raising concerns for the company’s future.
The real test will come over the next couple of years, though, as biosimilar versions of the $16 billion Humira hit the market. AbbVie has pledged to “vigorously defend” its IP on its prime source of revenue, but some industry watchers expect biosimilar copycats—including Amgen’s already-approved Amjevita—to pounce next year.