Novartis keeps CEO pay steady, but incoming chairman pay drops

Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:09am EST
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BASEL (Reuters) - Novartis NOVN.VX kept pay for its Chief Executive Joe Jimenez steady, after cutting it last year before a Swiss vote to force companies to accept shareholder limits on executive rewards.

The Basel-based drugmaker, typically the first Swiss blue-chip company pay to disclose pay, said on Wednesday Jimenez was paid 13.2 million Swiss francs ($14.69 million) in total for 2013, more than 3 million francs of it in cash.

It earlier posted lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and said it was looking at options, such as joint ventures, for its three smaller businesses.

This year's pay report is the first since Novartis had to scrap a planned 72 million franc payout to outgoing chairman Daniel Vasella three days before facing furious shareholders.

Pay for incoming chairman Joerg Reinhardt is far more modest than that of Vasella, who had been a lightning rod for criticism since a $20 million pay package in 2006.

Reinhardt, who launched the review of Novartis' smaller business units shortly after he arrived, was paid 1.9 million francs for five months at the drugmaker, according to the report.

Vasella took home nearly 3 million francs for the seven weeks he was employed by Novartis until he stepped down last February, including a large contribution to his pension.

Drugmakers and big banks have been the best-paying firms in Switzerland in recent years.

Roche ROG.VX Chief Executive Severin Schwan was paid 12.5 million francs in 2012, including cash, bonus, pension and other benefits, while outgoing chairman Franz Humer was paid 8.66 million francs.   Continued...

The logo of Swiss drugmaker Novartis is seen at its headquarters in Basel October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann