- Healthcare CEOs are some of the most well-paid executives in the US.
- We took a look at the compensation packages of the leaders overseeing some of the biggest healthcare companies.
- Here’s how much they took home in 2018, according to regulatory filings.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Leading a top healthcare company is a demanding job — and one for which CEOs are handsomely compensated.
There’s a lot that can come with the job title, from overseeing tens of billions of dollars in market value to testifying in front of Congress and finding ways to serve both shareholders and patients.
We took a look at the compensation packages of some of the leaders overseeing the largest healthcare companies. Included in packages were salaries, stock, and benefits like retirement and other incentives.
The pay packages range from single-digit millions to north of $26 million. Here’s how they stack up.
This article was originally published on April 22 and has been updated.
Allergan CEO Brent Saunders, $6,624,473
Brent Saunders has been presiding over Allergan and its billion-dollar Botox empire since 2014, when a $66 billion merger launched the company as a member of Big Pharma.
Lately, though, Saunders’ tenure has hit rocky times. Allergan still turns out a profitable business in cosmetics and eye care, but competition is also shaping up in those areas.
David Tepper’s Appaloosa LP hedge fund has slammed Allergan’s recent track record, calling for an independent board chair at the company — a move seen as an implicit critique of Saunders. Allergan’s stock price was among Appaloosa’s criticisms: It has steadily trended down since mid-2015, losing roughly 50% of its value.
Saunders’ leadership also came under attack in 2017, when he spearheaded an ill-advised gambit to extend patent protection on a key Allergan eye product, and last year, when a strategic review didn’t change much at the company.
Allergan’s market cap: $48 billion
GlaxoSmithKline CEO Emma Walmsley $7,662,210
Emma Walmsley has led the British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline for about two years, overseeing a time of transition for the company.
Like many of its pharmaceutical rivals, Glaxo is on the hunt for profitable new products that can sustain it for years to come.
Walmsley, who last year was one of just 25 female CEOs in the Fortune 500, comes to the world of healthcare by way of Glaxo’s consumer’s health business. Before joining the drugmaker in 2010, the Oxford University-educated Walmsley worked at L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics company, for nearly 20 years.
But Glaxo is increasingly plotting its way out of consumer health, including its iconic products like Tums and Excedrin, seeing those as incompatible with innovative new products, including in cancer. Late last year, for example, the company announced a $5 billion bet on the cancer drugmaker Tesaro.
GSK’s market cap: $203 billion
Illumina CEO Francis deSouza, $11,067,566
Francis deSouza became CEO of Illumina in 2016, succeeding Jay Flatley who had been in the post since 1999.
Illumina makes gene-sequencing technology used to turn samples of DNA into useful data for researchers and genetic testing companies alike.
Illumina’s market cap: $47 billion
Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina, $13,542,260
Following the merger of Boots Alliance and Walgreens in 2014, Stefano Pessina became CEO of the global pharmacy company.
Walgreens’ stock took a hit in April after it missed its second quarter earnings and cut its forecast for 2019. The company has been inking partnerships with companies like Microsoft, Google’s parent company Alphabet, Humana, and Kroger at a time when rivals like CVS Health have pursued big-ticket mergers.
Walgreens‘ market cap: $50 billion
Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, $13,346,299
Heather Bresch has served as CEO of generic drug and EpiPen-maker Mylan since 2012. The daughter of West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, Bresch weathered a storm of criticism around the emergency allergy device, when in 2016 its high price tag and frequent price increases were questioned.
Mylan’s stock has been dropping in May after an earnings call did little to reassure investors about what the company would do to turn around its struggling business. The company is also one of the targets of a massive lawsuit accusing generic drugmakers of working together to set prices of key drugs.
Mylan’s market cap: $10.5 billion
Anthem CEO Gail Boudreaux, $14,184,276
Gail Boudreaux is the CEO of Anthem, which offers health insurance under the Blue Cross and Blue Shield brand in 14 states. Boudreaux assumed the post at Anthem in November 2017. Prior to that, she served as the CEO of insurer UnitedHealthcare.
In January, Anthem let investors know it planned to launch its own pharmacy benefit manager ahead of schedule, earning praise from analysts.
“CEO Gail Boudreaux is clearly on a roll,” Leerink analyst Ana Gupte wrote in a January note.
Anthem’s market cap: $74 billion
Bausch Health CEO Joseph Papa, $14,741,050
Joseph Papa joined Bausch Health in May 2016, during troubled times.
Papa, who had previously helmed the drugmaker Perrigo, had been wooed over by a generous incentive package of about $65 million. He had also been brought in to right the ship.
One name change later, it’s seemingly still a work in progress. Today, Bausch stock is one-tenth of what it was at peak, in 2015, and has actually declined slightly since Papa took over.
Bausch Health’s market cap: $9 billion
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot, $14,780,288.24
Pascal Soriot started as CEO of AstraZeneca in 2012, joining from a long career in the pharmaceutical industry, with stints as an executive at Roche and the biotech Genentech, where he led its acquisition by Roche.
Soriot, who trained as a veterinarian and also has an MBA, notoriously fended off a nearly $120 billion takeover by Pfizerin 2014, aiming to turn the company around on his own instead.
On pay, we’ll leave it to Soriot to tell it in his own words.
“The truth is I’m the lowest-paid CEO in the whole industry,” he told The Times of London last fall. “You know, it is annoying to some extent. But at the end of the day, it is what it is.
“I am not going to complain, but me and Emma [Walmsley, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline] are the lowest paid in Europe and the US.”
AstraZeneca’s market cap: $50 billion
Molina Healthcare CEO Joseph Zubretsky, $15,219,770
Joseph Zubretsky joined health insurer Molina Healthcare in 2017, a few months after Molina’s two top executives were fired from the company. Prior to Molina, Zubretsky was an executive at Aetna.
Molina sells health insurance plans via government programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and the individual marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act.
Molina Healthcare’s market cap: $9 billion
Humana CEO Bruce Broussard, $16,312,517
Bruce Broussard is the CEO of Louisville, Kentucky-based health insurer Humana, which specializes in Medicare Advantage health plans for the elderly. He joined the company in 2011 and became CEO in 2013.
In 2018, Humana was at the heart of speculation about whether the insurer was going to work more closely with retailers like Walgreens or Walmart. Humana has had close relationships with both companies.
Humana’s market cap: $37 billion
Alexion CEO Ludwig Hantson, $16,490,250
Ludwig Hantson joined Alexion in 2017, after a turbulent investigation into the company’s sales practices. He took over from interim CEO David Brennan.
Hantson came from leading the biopharmaceutical company Baxalta, and has been trying to control costs through restructuring, including laying off about 20% of Alexion’s workforce the year Hantson joined.
Alexion is also now bringing to market a new version of its most profitable drug, in hopes of staving off competition and extending patent protections.
Alexion’s market cap: $31 billion
Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks, $17,230,337
A longtime Eli Lilly employee, David Ricks became CEO in 2017, after having worked in a wide range of the drugmaker’s businesses, including units in the US and China.
Ricks succeeded John Lechleiter, who before retiring had headed the drugmaker for eight years.
Eli Lilly’s market cap: $130 billion
Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak, $17,585,131
Device-maker Medtronic has been overseen by CEO Omar Ishrak since 2011. Prior to becoming CEO at Medtronic, Ishrak was an executive in GE’s Healthcare business.
The company makes medical technologies like insulin pumps, pacemakers, defibrulators, and other devices often used in surgical procedures.
Medtronic market cap: $111 billion
Merck CEO Ken Frazier, $17,643,087
Ken Frazier became Merck’s CEO in 2011, coming to the job by way of two decades at the pharma giant and, prior to that, a career in law.
Frazier has led Merck during a strikingly succesful, nearly decade-long period, which he credits in part to investing in research and development for new drugs. He recently hinted, though, that he may soon step down.
Already well-known in the healthcare industry, Frazier became even more prominent in 2017, when he quit President Donald Trump’s business council in the wake of Charlottesville.
Merck’s market cap: $210 billion
UnitedHealth Group CEO David Wichmann, $18,107,356
David Wichmann was named CEO of UnitedHealth Group in 2017, after working at the health insurer since 1998. His previous roles included president of UnitedHealth, and UnitedHealth CFO.
UnitedHealth is the biggest US health insurer, and runs clinics and a pharmacy benefits manager. The company also has technology and consulting operations.
UnitedHealth’s market cap: $212 billion
Amgen CEO Robert A. Bradway, $18,555,266
Robert Bradway came to Amgen in 2006 as the company’s vice president of operations strategy, from a roughly 20-year-long career in banking at Morgan Stanley.
He quickly climbed the corporate ladder, going on to work as executive vice president and CFO, and then CEO in May 2012. But just two years into his tenure, the pioneering biopharmaceutical company was struggling to grow and, in spite of a major restructuring that included big cuts to its workforce, facing serious criticism from Wall Street.
Amgen pushed through it. The stock has more than doubled over Bradway’s nearly seven years leading the company, and last year six of its drugs brought in a billion dollars or more. Amgen is also moving ahead with developing cutting-edge new drugs in cancer and migraine.
But challenges ahead remain, including the potential for new competitors on some of its best-selling drugs.
Amgen’s market cap: $109 billion
Thermo Fisher CEO Marc Casper, $18,607,103
Life Sciences company Thermo Fisher has been led by CEO Marc Casper since 2009. Casper joined the company in 2001. Thermo Fisher makes equipment and software that clinical laboratories use to analyze samples and do drug discovery.
In March, Thermo Fisher acquired Brammer Bio, a company that manufactures viral vectors used in cell and gene therapies in a $1.7 billion deal.
Thermo Fisher‘s market cap: $103 billion
Vertex Pharmaceuticals CEO Jeffrey Leiden, $18.8 million
Jeffrey Leiden became CEO of cystic-fibrosis drugmaker Vertex Pharmaceuticals in 2012, after serving on the company’s board of directors. Since then, the company has had a number of key drug approvals, most recently a third drug to treat cystic fibrosis.
Leiden’s pay package came under scrutiny in 2015, when investors learned that he made $45.8 million. His pay had been cut down to as little as $17.4 million in 2016.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals‘ market cap: $42 billion
Cigna CEO David Cordani, $18,944,045
David Cordani is the CEO of Connecticut-based health insurer Cigna, a post he’s held since 2009.
In 2018, Cordani oversaw the acquisition of pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts.
Cigna’s market cap: $63 billion
Bristol-Myers Squibb CEO Giovanni Caforio, $19,379,755
Giovanni Caforio has been CEO of the New York City-based biopharma Bristol-Myers Squibb since 2015.
Over the nearly 20 years he’s worked at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Caforio has also served as the company’s COO and head of its US pharmaceuticals division, among other roles.
Caforio, who was trained as a physician, also previously worked at Abbott Laboratories for about 12 years.
Bristol-Myers Squibb’s market cap: $76.27 billion
Pfizer’s Ian Read, $19,549,213
Ian Read became CEO of Pfizer in late 2010, and retired early this year, turning the reins over to current CEO Albert Bourla.
Read navigated the US drug giant through tricky times, including loss of patent protection for key products, and by most measures, successfully so.
Today, though, the drug company is striving to reinvent itself again, including by developing a portfolio of cancer drugs that it hopes will be worth $5 billion a year.
Pfizer’s market cap: $235 billion
Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky, $20,111,045
Johnson & Johnson veteran Alex Gorsky was named CEO in 2012. He took over from the pharma giant’s longtime CEO, William Weldon.
At the time, the company was reeling from a series of recalls of products like Tylenol because of poor manufacturing practices.
Consumer trust is again a problem for the iconic baby products maker today. It has been sued over claims that its baby powder is carcinogenic, and recently lost a high-profile case, with more expected to follow this year.
J&J’smarket cap: $360 billion
AbbVie CEO Rick Gonzalez, $21,271,869
Richard (Rick) Gonzalez took over as CEO after Abbott Labs, in 2013, split into two companies, one focused on medical devices and one focused on pharmaceuticals.
Gonzalez, an Abbott veteran, had retired from the company years before the split, facing a battle with throat cancer. Upon recovering, he rejoined the company to head its drug business.
AbbVie’s blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira is the best-selling product in the world. But facing competition and scrutiny about Humira’s high price tag, AbbVie has tried to diversify, including with a nearly $6 billion acquisition of a cancer company a few years ago.
AbbVie’s market cap: $121 billion
HCA Healthcare’s R. Milton Johnson, $21,419,906
R. Milton Johnson was the CEO of HCA Healthcare, a for-profit health system that operates 185 hospitals and 119 freestanding surgery centers around the US and the UK.
Johnson spent 36 years at HCA, becoming CEO in 2014. Johnson retired as of January 2019, but is a member of HCA’s board. Sam Hazen currently serves as HCA’s CEO.
HCA’s market cap: $45 billion
CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo, $21,953,040
Larry Merlo has been CEO of Rhode Island-based CVS Health since 2011.
In his role, he oversees the company’s 9,800 pharmacies as well as other lines of business like CVS Caremark, the company’s pharmacy benefit manager, wich negotiates prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.
In 2018, Merlo oversaw the $70 billion acquisition of health insurer Aetna.
CVS Health’s market cap: $70 billion
Abbott Laboratories CEO Miles White $24,254,238
When Miles White took over Abbott in 1998, he was the unlikely winner of a fierce, three-person race to be CEO.
White had previously led the company’s diagnostics unit, and replaced Duane Burnham, who planned to retire.
After Abbott was split into two companies in 2013, White stayed on as CEO of the medical device company. It’s been a successful streak, especially in recent years, with the stock roughly doubling since late 2016.
White has said he isn’t leaving anytime soon, but did point to a potential successor recently— Abbott veteran Robert Ford, who was named president and chief operating officer in October.
Abbott’s market cap: $138 billion
Gilead Sciences CEO John Milligan, $25,961,831.00
John Milligan was the CEO of Gilead Sciences, a company that’s known for its HIV and hepatitis C medications. While there, he oversaw the $12 billion acquisition of cancer drugmaker Kite Pharma.
Gilead in July announced that Milligan planned to step down after 30 years with the company. He had served as president since 2008 and ascended into the seat of CEO after John Martin left the post in 2016.
Former Roche Pharmaceuticals CEO Daniel O’Day replaced Milligan as CEO in March 2019. O’Day came in with a pay package of about $31 million.
Gilead’s market cap: $85.87 billion
Centene CEO Michael Neidorff, $26,122,414
Michael Niedorff has been CEO of St. Louis-based health insurer Centene since 2004. He initially joined the company in 1996.
In March, Centene said it’s acquiring its rival WellCare in a $17.3 billion deal.
The two companies combined have a big presence in the government-funded health-insurance programs Medicaid and Medicare, as well as a big presence on the individual exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act. All in, the two companies cover about 22 million Americans.
Centene’s market cap: $23 billion
Regeneron CEO Len Schleifer, $26,520,555
Len Schleifer founded Regeneron in 1988 and has been its president, CEO and a director for the more than 30 years since.
Schleifer and longtime Regeneron executive George Yancopoulos built Regeneron into the large biopharma player it is today.
Regeneron’s market cap: $33.42 billion