Chairman and CEO, Eli Lilly
Total Compensation: $14.620 million
Professional Profile: John Lechleiter, 59, is one of the Big Pharma CEOs who's spent his entire career at the same company. He's also one of the few top execs at a major drugmaker who's also a scientist. He started as a bench chemist at Lilly ($LLY) in 1979 and moved up the R&D ranks over the next 15 years, then branched out into regulatory affairs and finally ended up as SVP of pharmaceutical products in 1998. In 2005, he became president and COO; three years later, that title changed to president and CEO. In 2009, the Lilly board named him chairman.
Compensation Breakdown: $1.5 million in salary, $5.625 million in stock, and $2.98 million in incentive pay, plus $4.424 million worth of pension growth and deferred compensation and $90,000 worth of perks and other compensation.
Company Performance: One thing we can say about Lilly's 2012: It wasn't as bad as it could have been. Analysts were expecting worse, in fact. With its top-selling Zyprexa now off patent--and bleeding by the millions--Lilly's ability to hold its sales losses to just 7% won Lechleiter some credit. But with its antidepressant Cymbalta losing exclusivity late this year and few new drugs to show for its recent R&D efforts, Lilly remains anemic.
While Lilly was scrambling to cut costs and keep sales losses to a minimum, several of its late-stage development programs fell flat. Its Alzheimer's drug candidate solanezumab, always a risky bet, fell short in a key study. A rheumatoid arthritis hopeful flunked one of its three Phase III trials. And Lilly washed its hands completely of a would-be schizophrenia treatment after a Phase III study failed. Two existing drugs--Effient and Forteo--failed to prove out in comparative studies, though they did turn in some solid sales gains for the year.
Lechleiter has been adamant that Lilly's R&D efforts will pay off. He's sworn off big mergers so many times, he might as well be the official industry opponent of the practice. And Lilly's board continues to back him; though his 2012 pay amounted to 11% less than his 2011 compensation, almost that entire decline resulted from a smaller increase in the value of his pension.
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