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Wyeth CEO to Get $53 million Under Pfizer Deal

Mon, 03/30/2009 - 8:05am
LINDA A. JOHNSON AP Business Writer TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Wyeth's chief executive is in line to get a whopping $53 million in severance payments if the drugmaker's pending acquisition by Pfizer Inc. is completed, according to a regulatory filing Friday. Bernard Poussot, who also is president and chairman of Wyeth, would have to leave the company within three years of the merger closing — now expected this fall — to receive that total. Wyeth and New York-based Pfizer on Jan. 26 announced a stock, cash and debt deal, then worth $68 billion, under which Pfizer is to acquire Wyeth. The deal would diversify Pfizer, the world's biggest drug company, by giving it Wyeth's prescription drugs, vaccines, consumer and animal health products, and lucrative biologic drugs, plus some experimental compounds in development. Even if Poussot doesn't leave the combined company within three years, he would receive almost $17 million for cashing out nearly 364,000 restricted stock units, plus stock options valued at $1.6 million, for a total of $18.5 million on top of his regular compensation. That's because all Wyeth shares will be converted a combination of Pfizer shares and cash once the deal closes. Three other Wyeth executives would receive options worth nearly $1.5 million, and a total of 11 executives besides Poussot each would get restricted share cashouts valued at between $1 million and $4.4 million. If the merger closes and Poussot does leave the company within three years, either because he is terminated or leaves with good cause, he will get a golden parachute valued at $24.3 million. That includes $11.1 million, representing three years worth of salary and average bonus; $1.6 million, for his 2009 cash bonus; $11.5 million in additional pension benefits; and $85,000 for other perks. Wyeth previously had reported that Poussot will receive $10.3 million in cash compensation under the company's long-term incentive plan, also contingent on his leaving. Eight other executives would receive long-term incentive payouts of $1 million to $3.6 million if the merger goes through as expected and they subsequently leave. In addition to disclosing payouts that Poussot and other executives will get if the merger closes, the proxy detailed the compensation Poussot and other key executives received last year. Poussot received total compensation valued at $21.2 million in 2008, up 79 percent from the prior year, according to calculations by The Associated Press. That included nearly $1.5 million in salary, $2.8 million in performance-based bonus, stock options and restricted stock shares valued at $16.3 million on the dates they were granted, and other compensation totaling $657,000. The other compensation included about $190,000 for use of a company jet, $18,000 for the cost of commuting by helicopter, $10,500 for a car allowance, a $132,000 housing allowance, $148,000 for reimbursement of taxes he paid, $7,000 to match his 401(k) contributions, $38,000 to match his contributions to Wyeth's supplemental savings plan and $101,000 for home security. For the year, Wyeth earned $4.42 billion, or $3.27 per share, down from profit of $4.62 billion, or $3.38 per share, in 2007. Revenue rose to $22.83 billion from $22.4 billion. Wyeth's shares fell 15.1 percent in 2008, from $44.19 to $37.51.
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