Novartis says Vasella, board agree to cancel 72 mln Sfr pay deal

ZURICH Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:42am EST

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ZURICH Feb 19 (Reuters) - Novartis said it will cancel a 72 million Swiss franc ($77.98 million) pay package for outgoing chairman Daniel Vasella, which had sparked a wave of fury in Switzerland as a vote on curbs for executive pay looms.

"We continue to believe in the value of a non-compete, however, we believe the decision to cancel the agreement and all related compensation addresses the concerns of shareholders and other stakeholders," Novartis vice chairman Ulrich Lehner said in a statement on Tuesday.

Vasella would have received the "golden handshake" in tranches of 12 million francs over six years as a non-compete agreement. Vasella said in the statement he "understood" that Swiss people find the compensation too high. ($1 = 0.9233 Swiss francs) (Reporting By Katharina Bart)