Abbott Laboratories CEO compensation drops 8 pct

AP News
Posted: Mar 16, 2011 11:47 AM
Abbott Laboratories CEO compensation drops 8 pct

Drug and medical device maker Abbott Laboratories lowered Chief Executive Miles White's total compensation by 8 percent last year, as the company's stock slid on concerns about future growth.

Abbott paid White a total compensation package of $20.2 million last year, down from $22 million in 2009, according to a regulatory form filed late Tuesday with federal financial regulators.

North Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories is a broad-based health product company, selling everything from biotech drugs to baby formula. That diversified business model helped it weather the recession better than many companies, though the company has seen its shares fall in the past year as it has struggled to develop new products.

Abbott shares fell more than 11 percent in 2010 to finish around $48, down from $54 in 2009.

White's salary rose 2 percent to $1.9 million for the year, but most of the larger components of his compensation fell.

White's performance-based bonus was cut to $3.7 million, down 5 percent from the prior year.

The bulk of his pay came in stock awards, which fell 12 percent to $10.9 million. Similarly, stock options fell 10 percent to $2.7 million for the year.

One part of White's package that saw a boost was above-market earnings on deferred compensation, which ballooned 219 percent to $224,973 from $70,528.

White, 56, also saw a modest increase in various perks, including jet travel and personal security, which totaled $807,728.

Despite the overall drop in pay, Abbott's board of directors gave White a mostly positive review. He met key targets for earnings and cash flow, while just missing the mark for sales growth.

In terms of long-term company goals, including building its pharmaceutical business and integrating recent acquisitions, the board said "Mr. White achieved the above goals in all material aspects."

But many investors and analysts have voiced concern about the company's prospects for continued growth.

In January the company said it would lay off 2 percent of its work force in an effort to keep profits up amid new taxes created by the health care overhaul as well as a challenging environment for new drug approvals at the Food and Drug Administration.

Abbott has been one of the pharmaceutical industry's rare success stories in recent years, largely thanks to double-digit growth of multibillion dollar, anti-inflammatory drug Humira. And while the injectable biotech drug continued to deliver double-digit growth last year, Abbott has been mostly unsuccessful in efforts to find new therapies to replace the drug.

Early this year the company withdrew the application for a next-generation psoriasis drug after the FDA indicated additional work would be needed to win approval.

Humira, which treats rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory disease, is scheduled to lose patent protection in 2016.

The Associated Press formula is designed to isolate the value that the company's board placed on the executive's total compensation package during the last fiscal year. It includes salary, bonus, performance-related bonuses, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year.

The calculations don't include changes in the present value of pension benefits, and they sometimes differ from the totals companies list in the summary compensation table of proxy statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which reflect the size of the accounting charge taken for the executive's compensation in the previous fiscal year.

Abbott Labs will hold its annual shareholder meeting April 29 in North Chicago.