LONDON, April 15 A group that represents local
pension funds in Britain is recommending that its members vote
against the pay package of AstraZeneca's new chief
Pascal Soriot, who took over at the drugmaker in October,
received a package that included 4 million pounds in shares
payable in up to eight years to compensate him for his forfeited
bonus from his previous employer.
Urging its members to vote against the package next week,
the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) said on Monday it
had calculated Soriot's total pay for only three months of work
to be 6.5 million pounds ($10 million).
AstraZeneca declined to comment directly, but said its
remuneration policy promoted long-term growth in shareholder
LAPFF members own between 1 and 2 percent of AstraZeneca
shares, a spokesperson for the forum said. In a statement ahead
of AstraZeneca's annual general meeting on April 25, the group
said the award to Soriot was way above his predecessor's, on a
pro rata basis.
"We don't think executives should be paid for performance
they have not actually achieved. That means we will challenge
such awards whenever we see them, and will advise voting against
the company's remuneration report," LAPFF chairman Kieran Quinn
said. The group represents pension funds with more than 115
billion pounds in assets.
Shareholder activist groups called for a number of
remuneration packages to be voted down last year, as a rapid
rise in boardroom pay appeared at odds with falling average
incomes and tough economic conditions.
But the "Shareholder Spring" against executive pay has since
lost momentum as investors seemed reluctant to vote against
A spokeswoman for AstraZeneca said: "We are committed to
levels of remuneration that are sufficient to attract, retain
and motivate senior employees of the requisite quality, while
avoiding paying more than is necessary."
In January, Soriot said sales and profits would both fall
sharply in 2013 as the company continues to struggle with patent
expirations for key drugs.