Vaccines have been a key factor in the battle against the pandemic. At the time, they have become a very profitable business for manufacturing companies and their managers, led by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. The American company pulverized its profit record in 2022 thanks to the sales of Comirnaty (the vaccine developed and produced together with BioNTech) and Paxlovid, its pill for those who have contracted the disease. And these benefits have also translated into record salaries for the company’s executives.
The president and CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, earned 33 million dollars (about 31 million euros) in 2022, compared to 24 million the previous year, according to the documentation registered by the company with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It is the highest compensation paid by the company to its first executive in its history.
Information made available to shareholders on the occasion of the general meeting on April 27, he justifies this high salary in these terms: “Thanks to the leadership and strategic acumen of Dr. Bourla, Pfizer achieved a good year in 2022. He has guided the company in its continued response to the covid-19 and has guided us in achieving our purpose: advances that change the lives of patients”.
Pfizer highlights some of the achievements of the past financial year: “In 2022, we treat more than 1.3 billion patients (worldwide) with our medicines and vaccines. We achieved a record revenue of $100.3 billion, representing 30% growth in operating income.” Explain. It also highlights its efforts in research, the upcoming launch of new products, the purchase operations of other companies, the initiative to help close the health equity gap for 1.2 billion people living in 45 low-income countries and the improvement of the company’s reputation.
Threats to managers
That improvement in reputation has not prevented some executives from being threatened: “Due to increased security risks, including threats against our executives, additional security protection has been provided, according to a security study independent and the advice of other security experts, to certain executives, when it has been considered appropriate ”, ensures the company.
In Bourla’s case, the security bill comes to $800,000. Her compensation, most of which was paid in stocks and options, included $188,000 for personal use of the company plane and $18,000 for use of a car. The chief executive of Pfizer has a shield of about 90 million dollars in case of dismissal without cause or due to a change of control of the company.
After Bourla, the highest paid executive is the chief financial officer, David Denton. Although he joined the company in early May of last year, his compensation was $24.4 million, partly to make up for what he missed when he left his job as Lowe’s chief financial officer. Pfizer paid him $5 million in cash as a welcome and made other concessions up to $18 million for the signing.
The third-highest-paid manager at Pfizer was director of development William Pao, another new addition, in this case from Roche, who earned $17 million, including $5 million in transfer bonus cash. The company’s top six executives earned about $107 million. Despite being the highest figures in the history of the pharmaceutical company, they are far from the salaries of the financial or technological sector.
A Spaniard, a millionaire in Moderna
In Moderna, another of the manufacturers of vaccines against covid, the chief executive, the French Stéphane Bancel, earned 19.4 million dollars, compared to 18.2 million in 2021 and 12.9 million in 2020, according to the information registered by the company. Moderna has sued Pfizer and BioNtech accusing them of copying its patents. In this case, however, the compensation is far from that of 2018, when Bancel received a large package of options that raised his annual salary to 58 million dollars.
Among the most prominent managers of Moderna in 2022 is the Spanish Juan Andrés. The man from Madrid had a remuneration of 6.07 million dollars last year, compared to 6.6 million in 2021. Andrés joined Moderna in August 2017 from Novartis and for the last few years he has served as director of technology and quality.
In January of this year, however, he stepped down from those responsibilities to take on a position of strategic alliances and expansion. In February, however, the company announced that the 58-year-old Spaniard will leave Moderna in May after a difficult year in which the company seems to blame him for some problems.
He is the senior manager who has received the worst rating from the remuneration committee: “Mr. Andrés did not receive the full corporate multiplier, and had an individual performance factor of less than 100%, due to the impact of challenges within the manufacturing organization in achieving the company’s product sales targets. says the documentation made available to the shareholders.
On his way out, Juan Andrés has been making cash. According to the report, aside from his salary, during 2022 he exercised stock options and other stock incentives that netted him $15 million worth. In addition, he has options and the like to exercise until May on another 347,172 shares, valued at about $58 million at current market prices.
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