Daniel Vasella - Novartis
Total Compensation: $15.1M
Details: Vasella's contract was set to end in 2008. By the fall, he had promoted vaccines and diagnostics chief, Joerg Reinhardt, to be COO. Rumors began flying that--with Reinhardt tapped to be Vasella's sucessor--the CEO was on his way out the door. But Vasella said he loved coming to work and felt an "emotional connection" to Novartis and a "deep desire" for the company to succeed. The love must have been mutual because not only did Vasella receive a hefty 21 percent raise in his 2008 compensation over 2007, the company extended his contract. Considering the company had chopped his pay by 33 percent in 2007, it's safe to say there's some love in the air once again.
Vasella could go ... but he'll probably stay
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