CEO's pay climbed with EpiPen's cost

Mylan's pay for CEO Bresch grates on lawmakers, many investors

Mylan NL CEO Heather Bresch holds EpiPens during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Rising Price of EpiPens at the Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Mylan NL CEO Heather Bresch holds EpiPens during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Rising Price of EpiPens at the Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch was lambasted at a congressional hearing this week for taking home tens of millions of dollars as the company raised the price on its EpiPen allergy shot. Some investors have been critical of Mylan’s executive compensation for years.

While the drugmaker touts “strong support” for its executive pay program in regulatory filings, votes cast by shareholders tell a different story. At least 30 percent of investors have voted against the program in every election on the matter since 2011.

That’s the worst streak of results among companies in Mylan’s compensation peer group, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“I don’t know of any company that considers approval in the 60 percent range to be strong support,” said Robin Ferracone, CEO of Farient Advisors, an executive compensation consulting company. “Either the board isn’t taking action on investors’ concerns, or it’s like Whack-a-Mole — they take action but another problem pops up.”

Bresch faced lawmakers at a Wednesday hearing in Washington, D.C. The company became a target for outraged politicians and consumers after it raised the price of EpiPen, a self-administered injection used to treat dangerous allergic reactions, by about sixfold since 2007.

“While the price of EpiPen shot up exponentially, so did Ms. Bresch’s paycheck and the lavish compensation of her fellow executives at Mylan,” U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said at the hearing.

While Bresch’s reported compensation fell to $18.9 million last year from $25.8 million in 2014, proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. noted that Mylan paid two CEO-level packages since Executive Chairman Robert Coury received $17.7 million.

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The company also failed to acknowledge its poor 2014 say-on-pay result and list feedback received from shareholders, according to a report from the investor services company.

The grilling of Mylan’s executive came the same week the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs gave Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf a lambasting over the bank’s employees creating millions of unrequested accounts for customers to achieve sales goals.

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