2013 pay package: $6 million
2012 pay package: (Joined Merck in 2013)
2013 compensation: $711,538 in salary; $500,000 in bonus; $2.7 million in stock awards; $1.4 million in option awards; $623,700 in non-equity incentive plan compensation; $34,439 in pension value; $16,459 in other compensation
Like Martin Mackay, his Alexion Pharmaceuticals ($ALXN) counterpart, Roger Perlmutter embarked on his second tour of duty last year, taking up the challenge of rescuing Merck's ($MRK) legendary but troubled R&D operation. Perlmutter retired from Amgen ($AMGN) in 2012 after 11 years at the helm of one of the original Big Biotechs, but, about a year into his time away from drug development, the veteran physician-scientist answered the call to help remake the image of one of the industry's most respected institutions.
And he was well compensated for his move. Perlmutter reaped a $500,000 signing bonus upon joining Merck in April 2013, with another half million due a year later if he stuck around. His 9-month pay package of $6 million topped the $5.8 million he made in 2011, his last full year at Amgen, and beat out the 2013 take-home of Sean Harper, his hand-picked successor.
Beyond his $1 million come-hither bonus, Perlmutter picked up a $623,700 award based on what Merck called "the significant progress he has achieved ... in refocusing and reprioritizing Merck's R&D organization and early- and late-stage pipelines."
So far, that has meant shedding a somewhat antiquated approach to product development and about 8,500 jobs along with it, a reprioritization that has resulted in all-hands devotion to Merck's most-promising late-stage assets. MK-3475, the company's fast-progressing cancer immunotherapy, is at the top the pipeline, followed by a two-drug hepatitis C cocktail that, though lagging efforts from Gilead Sciences ($GILD) and AbbVie ($ABBV), is widely expected to compete for physicians' favor once it hits the market. Under Perlmutter's watch, the company has also made a high-risk bet in Alzheimer's disease, a perilous field for pharma, by advancing its BACE-inhibiting MK-8931 into Phase III late last year.
- here's Merck's annual report
Analysts cheer on Merck's comeback campaign, pumping up blockbuster forecasts
Merck's fast and furious MK-3475 immunotherapy team guns for a quick approval
Struggling Merck slashing 8,500 jobs in major R&D, commercial reorganization
Merck's Perlmutter shares plans for R&D reboot, likes and dislikes