AstraZeneca Shareholders Target CEO Pay

16.03.2016 -

AstraZeneca shareholders are said to be questioning the £8.4 million pay package awarded to CEO executive Pascal Soriot last year after he successfully deflected a hostile bid from US rival Pfizer.

London-based Sunday Times said this week a number of the company’s largest shareholders plan to vote against Soriot’s remuneration – which last year was comprised to more than half of long-term incentives (LTI) –  at the annual general meeting on Apr. 29.

The investors are pressing to have the CEO’s pay linked to the ambitious targets set out when the company rejected Pfizer’s nearly £70 billion bid last year. At the time, Soriot promised to deliver sales of $45 billion by 2023.

News agencies said yesterday the board is considering the requests. “The remuneration committee will continue to evaluate ways in which a more transparent link can be made between executive LTI arrangements and the 2023 revenue target,” a company spokesman told Reuters, adding that the committee would consult with major shareholders and shareholder representative bodies on proposals.

Soriot's predecessor, former AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan, was forced out in spring 2012 after shareholders criticized his £9 million pay deal for 2011 and the perceived underperformance of the UK’s second largest drugmaker.

At the country’s largest drugmaker, GSK, the search is still underway for a successor to CEO Andrew Witty, who is facing shareholder pressure on at least two fronts. While some are simply unhappy over a sluggish financial performance, others want to break up the company altogether.