Revenue down? No worries for Gilead CEO Milligan as compensation swells to $15.4M

John Milligan, Gilead CEO

Gilead provided some fresh evidence Monday evening that turbulent financials are no reason to hold back a raise for the CEO.

In their proxy statement delivered after the markets closed, Gilead $GILD revealed that they had handed CEO John Milligan a compensation package totaling $15.4 million — despite the fact that company revenue had plunged more than $4 billion during the course of 2017.

In 2016 Milligan made $13.9 million, with his new salary coming in close to twice the $8.2 million he made in 2015, just before he got the top job. He pulled down a beefed up $3.2 million bonus for his accomplishments last year. All told, his compensation shot up about 11%.

Gilead’s fortunes have waned considerably since the heyday of their hep C debut. Curing a disease like that can create a hefty spike without a long lasting revenue stream. And now Gilead is turning to CAR-T and its Kite buyout to create a new business for the company as HIV continues to build with the introduction of Biktarvy.

Norbert Bischofberger

Not as well rewarded was Norbert Bischofberger, who only recently stepped down from the top job running R&D. His comp plan totaled $6.14 million, down slightly from the year before and well off the $6.95 million package he gained in 2015.

A number of top biopharma CEOs have been making out well in the latest round of compensation reports. Allergan CEO Brent Saunders bagged a $32 million package, despite an embarrassing public relations fiasco involving drug patents and a certain Mohawk Indian tribe claiming sovereign immunity. Ian Read at Pfizer added an $8 million retention bonus that brought him to $28 million for the year. And both of their stocks were down over the year. Another beneficiary of the generous trend on CEO salaries was Herve Hoppenot, the CEO of Incyte who gained a bit more than Milligan last year.

In Gilead’s case, shares have gyrated a bit but are currently trading close to where they started at the beginning of 2017.

These days, it’s good to be in the CEO suite, where you can always make a case for more pay.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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