Pascal Soriot, the CEO of pharmaceutical company and leading COVID vaccine producer AstraZeneca, earned £15.45 million (€18.01 million) during 2020, making him the highest-paid executive of any company on the UK’s leading stock index.
The revelation comes as part of analysis by the High Pay Centre think tank on the rate of pay of executives at companies on the FTSE 100.
Mr Soriot joined AstraZeneca in 2012 and has presided over a recovery of the company’s prospects in that time. Particularly notably, under his leadership, the company fought off a $118 billion takeover attempt by rival Pfizer.
The company’s COVID vaccine, which it says it will not make any profit from, was roiled in controversy earlier this year due to safety concerns and an erratic rollout.
Mr Soriot’s compensation pales in comparison to that of a number of executives and investors in competing vaccine manufacturers.
According to research from the People’s Vaccine Alliance released in May, the pandemic was responsible for minting nine new ‘vaccine millionaires’.
“Between them, the nine new billionaires have a combined net wealth of $19.3 billion (€15.8 billion), enough to fully vaccinate all people in low-income countries 1.3 times”, the Alliance said in a statement at the time.
Notable in their omission from the list were new billionaires connected with AstraZeneca. Under the company’s “no-profit pledge“, the company was estimated in March to have foregone $20 billion (€16.4 billion) in revenue.
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