Alex Philippidis Senior News Editor Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Compensation Has Climbed since 2014, yet Gap with Male Counterparts Remains

Reports that topless women bearing the logos of biopharma company sponsors were among the dancers at The Party at BIO Not Associated with BIO (PABNAB) overshadowed the best-in-a-decade crowd of 18,289 attendees who descended upon the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)’s 2018 International Convention.

It serves as a stark reminder of just how far biopharma still needs go, even in the #MeToo era, to attain an across-the-board commitment to respect for women and gender diversity. Yet increasingly, that call to action is being voiced by industry leaders: one of them being BIO’s chairman John M. Maraganore, Ph.D., the CEO of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, who publicly declared the PABNAB antics to be “something that we cannot accept as an organization.”

Last year, the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) and executive recruiting company Liftstream issued a report, “Opening the Path to a Diverse Future,” which found that while the percentages of men and women entering biopharma are indeed about equal (49.6% women vs. 50.4% men), women accounted for 24% of C-suite executives, and a mere 14.4% of board members.

More recently, on June 12, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine called for changes to federal and state laws aimed at preventing sexual harassment of women in a report titled Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report urged Congress and state legislatures to prohibit confidentiality in settlement agreements, and to allow women to sue alleged harassers directly, in addition to their institutions.

Another tone-deaf reminder, arguably, is the generally lower compensation of top female executives compared with men. While Regeneron Pharmaceuticals President and CEO Leonard S. Schleifer, M.D., Ph.D., fetched an eye-popping $47,462,526 in compensation in 2017, the top-compensated women executive made just over one-third (36%) of that amount at $17,176,056.

This year, five women commanded compensation of $10 million or more, compared with just a single eight-figure executive the first time GEN ranked top-paid women biopharma executives back in 2013 (Laura J. Schumacher of AbbVie). The lowest-paid of the top-10 women this year made $5,360,037—55% above the $3,450,103 racked up by #10 on that 2013 list.

Following is this year’s ranking of top women executives at public biopharma companies by their total 2017 compensation, as disclosed in company proxy statements. Each executive is listed by name, title, company, 2017 and 2016 total compensation, and percent change between the two years. All non-U.S. currencies have been converted to U.S. dollars.

10. B. Lynne Parshall

Company: Ionis Pharmaceuticals

Title: Senior Strategic Advisor and Director; Former COO 1

2017 Compensation: $5,360,037

2016 Compensation: $5,474,628

% Change: -2.1%

9. Robin L. Washington

Company: Gilead Sciences

Title: EVP and CFO

2017 Compensation: $5,529,346

2016 Compensation: $5,068,062

% Change: 9.1%

8. Emma Walmsley

Company: GlaxoSmithKline

Title: CEO

2017 Compensation: £4,883,000 ($6,528,392) 2

2016 Compensation: N/A

% Change: N/A

7. Sandra Leung

Company: Bristol-Myers Squibb

Title: EVP and General Counsel

2017 Compensation: $6,543,417

2016 Compensation: $5,441,801

% Change: 20.2%

6. Clare Carmichael

Companies: Wave Life Sciences (2018); Alexion Pharmaceuticals (2011–2017)

Titles: Chief Human Resources Officer (Wave); EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer (Alexion)

2017 Compensation: $7,717,762 3

2016 Compensation: $4,022,659 3

% Change: 91.9%

5. Maria Teresa Hilado

Company: Allergan

Title: EVP and CFO (Retired in February 2018)

2017 Compensation: $10,761,583

2016 Compensation: $1,261,052

% Change: 753.4%

4. Heather Bresch

Company: Mylan

Title: CEO

2017 Compensation: $12,744,397

2016 Compensation: $13,777,120

% Change: -7.5%

3. Laura J. Schumacher

Company: AbbVie

Title: EVP, External Affairs, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary

2017 Compensation: $14,979,356

2016 Compensation: $8,217,699

% Change: 82.3%

2. Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D., J.D.

Company: United Therapeutics

Title: CEO

2017 Compensation: $16,478,000

2016 Compensation: $15,424,329

% Change: 6.8%

1. Sandra E. Peterson

Company: Johnson & Johnson

Title: EVP, Group Worldwide Chair

2017 Compensation: $17,176,056

2016 Compensation: $8,732,784

% Change: 96.7%

1. B. Lynne Parshall was succeeded as COO by Brett Monia effective January 2018.
2. Emma Walmsley was appointed to GSK’s board effective January 1, and succeeded Sir Andrew Witty as CEO effective April 1, 2017.
3. 2017 and 2016 compensation figures reflect Clare Carmichael’s position as EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer of Alexion Pharmaceuticals. She left Alexion effective June 1, 2017. 


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