Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who are the top-earning CEOs of them all?
Consider Dr. Leonard S. Schleifer, the head of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN), based in Tarrytown, N.Y. His total compensation in 2015? More than $47 million. If he were working at New York state’s minimum wage — $9 an hour — it would have taken him well over 5 million hours to earn that much. That’s about 600 years of work without stopping to eat or sleep.
(Regeneron, by the way, just announced it’ll spend $100 million over the next decade to sponsor the nation’s largest high school science competition.)
Next on the list is Dr. Jeffrey M. Leiden, of Vertex (VRTX) Pharmaceuticals in Boston, at $28 million. That actually represents a pretty hefty pay cut for Leiden. He earned more than $36 million in 2014, which raised a few eyebrows given that the company had turned a profit just once in the previous quarter-century.
Larry J. Merlo, of CVS (CVS) Health, clocks in at number 3 among health-care execs. His total compensation last year was just shy of $23 million — a 6 percent drop from the year before.
Here are the top 20 earners in the health care field, from the AP and Equilar, which analyzed CEO pay at hundreds of companies on the S&P 500:
- Leonard S. Schleifer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, $47,462,526
- Jeffrey M. Leiden, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, $28,099,826
- Larry J. Merlo, CVS Health, $22,855,374
- Robert J. Hugin, Celgene (CELG), $22,472,912
- Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), $21,128,866
- Michael F. Neidorff, Centene (CNC), $20,755,103
- Alan B. Miller, Universal Health Services (UHS), $20,427,309
- Kenneth C. Frazier, Merck & Co., $19,898,438
- Miles D. White, Abbott Laboratories (ABT), $19,410,704
- John C. Martin, Gilead Sciences (GILD), $18,755,952
- Richard A. Gonzalez, AbbVie (ABBV), $18,534,310
- Heather Bresch, Mylan, $18,162,852
- David M. Cordani, Cigna (CI), $17,307,672
- Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna, $17,260,806
- George A. Scangos, Biogen (BIIB), $16,874,386
- Robert L. Parkinson, Baxter International (BAX), $16,648,750
- John C. Lechleiter, Eli Lilly & Co, $16,562,500
- Marc N. Casper, Thermo Fisher Scientific, $16,307,079
- Robert A. Bradway, Amgen (AMGN), $16,097,714
- George Paz, Express Scripts Holding, $14,835,587
Total CEO compensation includes salary, bonus, stock and stock option awards, and other perks.