As FierceMedicalDevices looks at CEO compensation for 2011 at the top 10 medical device companies, we see that it very much reflects an industry in transition. In many cases, the corporate titans on our list didn't even finish out the year, as new leadership took the stage to address controversies over quality or sluggish revenue. Some executives retired abruptly, defying expectations for longer tenures.
Take Johnson & Johnson's William Weldon, for example. His pay package tops our list, after already rocketing to the No. 1 slot of FiercePharma's 10 largest pharmaceutical CEO compensation packages for 2011. Weldon left, however, after facing a shareholder suit over his hefty pay. J&J ($JNJ) in the post-Weldon world has also been forced to confront unresolved production problems and continued recalls in many of its device-related and consumer products divisions. (Alex Gorsky took over this past spring.) But one of Weldon's major initiatives has finally made an impact: his proposed $21.3 billion buyout of Synthes, a Swiss-American maker of surgical tools and orthopedic implants. After more than a year, the bid finally crossed the regulatory finish line, first in Europe in April and in the U.S. in June, milestones that brought the historic acquisition to a close.
And then there's Medtronic ($MDT) Chairman and CEO William Hawkins, who unexpectedly announced plans to retire at the end of the company's 2011 fiscal year after the Minnesota device giant struggled to come up with new products to counter sluggish defibrillator and pacemaker sales. After years of choosing replacements from inside the company, Medtronic brought in Omar Ishrak, a veteran of GE Healthcare, to replace him. Hawkins left with a reduced pay package that was largely goal-based. But his "separation agreement" essentially paid him for another year as the company turned to new leadership and began to increasingly focus on emerging markets for new business. Click here to see the full list of the Top 10 Medical devices company CEO salaries of 2011 >> -- Mark Hollmer (email | Twitter)