John Leonard, AbbVie

John Leonard, AbbVie ($ABBV)
2012 Pay Package: $5.48 million
2011 Pay Package: $3.50 million
Percent change: +56.57%
2012 Compensation: $640,163 salary; $2.23 million in stock awards; $224,400 in option awards; $515,600 in incentive pay; $1.72 million in pension growth and deferred compensation; $149,142 in other compensation

Joining a slew of top R&D executives who have left their posts, John Leonard announced in May 2013 that he would bow out of the new Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) spinoff. Leonard started his Abbott career in 1992, became head of pharma R&D in 2012, and split off with AbbVie in January 2013.

As that spinoff neared, Abbott spent considerable time and money making deals for new R&D programs. So, when AbbVie ventured out on its own, it had a number of closely watched programs in its pockets, including several for hepatitis C, one of the hottest therapeutic areas out there. It is also heavily invested in antibody-drug conjugates, a new wave of cancer treatments.

In all, AbbVie hit the ground running with more than 20 mid- and late-stage therapies. But the newly minted pharma company has already posted some serious setbacks, including the failure of bardoxolone, a prospective treatment for chronic kidney disease that was linked with patient deaths.

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AbbVie's senior R&D exec Leonard joins exodus from the top ranks

-- Emily Mullin

John Leonard, AbbVie
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