Ex-Astrazeneca CEO Declines Bonus

Ex-Astrazeneca CEO Declines Bonus

July 17th, 2012 // 12:26 pm @

After a string of disappointments capped his recently ended tenure as AstraZeneca ceo, David Brennan is not taking a bonus for his final months running the struggling drugmaker. In a statement today, the AstraZeneca Remuneration Committee was informed that “he did not wish to be considered for a bonus” through June 1, when he formally retired. And additional awarded shares were also forfeited.

So how much money is not being sent his way? “As final payouts are dependent on different performance criteria it is impossible to accurately calculate the total of the bonuses and share awards David has given up at this stage, but it will be somewhere between zero and approximately $5.4 million, at today’s exchange rate,” an AstraZeneca spokeswoman writes us.

Despite the cloud under which he departed, Brennan still has reason to feel upbeat. He will receive pay and keep share awards that, together, are worth about $6.9 million, at today’s exchange rate. And he has a fully accrued pension with a transfer value of approximately $23 million, although the eventual value has yet to be calculated. The spokeswoman called previous reports about the value of his exit package “speculation – some fairly exaggerated or misleading.”

Clearly, the move to forgo the bonus is designed to appease critics and avoid a debate about ceo compensation, which is such a hot-button issue these days, especially when companies have generated disappointments. Whether AstraZeneca and Brennan will escape criticism remains to be seen. A recent example that generated outrage was Bill Weldon, who this spring stepped down as ceo at Johnson & Johnson, but will remain chairman for an unspecified period of time.

The embattled Weldon will receive $143.5 million in retirement (read here), although his tenure has been pockmarked by repeated quality control lapses that led to embarrassing manufacturing gaffes, product recalls and a consent decree, which contributed to declining sales and a loss of standing among consumers.

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