Stocktake: AstraZeneca errs in hiking chief executive’s pay

The drugs company has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons

 AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot, could net nearly £18 million in 2021. Photograph: Bloomberg

AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot, could net nearly £18 million in 2021. Photograph: Bloomberg

 

AstraZeneca’s decision to hike chief executive Pascal Soriot’s pay prompted a shareholder rebellion last week, with 40 per cent voting against the move. One can see why. Institutional investors have protested against Soriot’s pay on multiple occasions in recent years. Upping it yet again – Soriot could net almost £18 million in 2021, depending on bonuses – was bound to raise hackles, as AstraZeneca hasn’t covered itself in glory in recent months. Investors presumed AstraZeneca would emerge from the pandemic with its reputation enhanced, after it entered into a non-profit partnership with Oxford University to produce a Covid-19 vaccine for the world. Instead, it’s been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, ranging from flawed trials, missed deadlines, legal battles with the EU as well as concerns over the accuracy of vaccine data that prompted White House chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci to complain of the company committing an “unforced error”. AstraZeneca has also been unlucky on occasion. Irresponsible comments from some European politicians as well as mixed messaging from regulators have damaged confidence in what is a safe and efficacious vaccine. Nevertheless, it doesn’t take a PR genius to see this was not the time to approve a bumper pay deal. Many thought AstraZeneca’s stumbles should cost Soriot his job. Instead, his pay, as EdenTree Investment Management’s Neville White put it, has hit “heights rarely seen in the UK”.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.