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Pfizer persuades CEO Ian Read to stay on for 1 more year, adding $8M bonus and bumping pay package to $28M

Fretting over the idea that Pfizer CEO Ian Read might decide to retire or jump ship sometime in the next year, the board has OK’d a special, $8 million incentive bonus to keep him in the executive suite until next March.

The pharma giant’s proxy, filed with the SEC, spells out some longterm talks that have been going on at Pfizer. Read, 64, is at retirement age, after spending 40 years at the company, joining back in 1978 as an auditor.

Last year, that $8 million bonus — which vests over a period of 5 years — boosted his total compensation to $28 million. That’s a 61% increase over 2016.

To get the extra money, he’ll have to stay on as CEO for the next year and then shun any regular job offers that come his way for two years. And Pfizer’s stock will have to rise by at least 25% and stay at that level for 30 consecutive days.

Mikael Dolsten

Pfizer’s stock climbed 16.7% last year, trailing the performance of the market for healthcare stocks. The company had a good year for new drug approvals, buying its way into the PD-1/L1 race with Bavencio from Merck KGaA while also adding a fast-tracked Besponsa and Steglatro, partnered with Merck for diabetes. More recently, the pharma giant chopped out its neurosciences R&D group, eliminating 300 jobs after making little progress in the field.

That $28 million compensation package of Read’s represents 313 times the average salary at Pfizer, which registers at about $89,000. It’s also a much bigger boost than anyone else in the executive suite got. R&D chief Mikael Dolsten saw his compensation drop slightly to $7.67 million, down from $8.22 million.

There are perks that come with the CEO job. For security reasons, Pfizer makes a car and driver available 24/7, which also covers any personal transportation demands.


Image: Ian Read.


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