Now, that he is retiring after a spell of disappointments on the job, David Brennan may yet have reason to feel cheery. An unconfirmed report in The Sunday Times over the weekend suggests the outgoing ceo - who officially leaves on June 1 - will receive a $65 million exit package that includes an annual pension of approximately $1 million a year (back story).
One could argue this is overly generous, given the setbacks that occurred on his watch. These include continual struggles to replenish the product pipeline and the failure of the $15 billion acquisition of MedImmune five years ago to yield any substantive results. Nonetheless, Brennan saw his 2011 compensation rise 11 percent (see this).
However, an AstraZeneca spokesman notes that final details have not been determined and the package will reflect a long tenure that began decades ago in sales. "The exact terms of David Brennan's package on retirement have yet to be agreed by the board, which we'll disclose in due course. The figures used in media reports are entirely speculative at this stage,” he writes us. "The pension fund David has built up reflects a 36-year career with the company at increasingly senior positions.”
Whatever the final numbers, the package may become the subject of debate, if only because ceo compensation is such a hot-button issue these days, especially when companies have generated disappointments. Another example has been Bill Weldon, who is about to step 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.