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AstraZeneca CEO Top Paid Executive Among FTSE 100 Firms In 2020, Says Report

AstraZeneca CEO Top Paid Executive Among FTSE 100 Firms In 2020, Says Report
The highest paid CEO of Britain in 2020 was the chief executive of Covid-19 vaccine maker AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot, in a year when there was an almost one third decline in the pay of the average FTSE 100 leader, revealed a recent report.
The report from the High Pay Centre said that a pay of 15.45 million pounds ($21.25 million) was awarded to Soriot last year even though the manner of handling of the pandemic response was criticized despite the company producing its vaccine at cost price.
In comparison, the median pay for CEOs in Britain's flagship stock index was 2.69 million pounds whereas it was at 3.25 million pounds in 2019, noted the report. The CEO pay was still 86 times the average pay for a worker in the United Kingdom.
There had been a demand by shareholders that the top executives of companies should bear a part of the financial woes that were effaced by companies across a range of sectors faced by them through a tough year as sales and demand were hit because of pandemic induced lockdowns.
The report noted that the percentage of British companies that paid bonuses to executives last year declined to 64 per cent compared to 89 per cent the year ago. At the same time, 77 per cent of the FTSE 100 companies paid out long-term incentives based on performance over the previous 3-5 years while 82 per cent had made such payments in the previous year.
Among the companies that were given public money via the furlough scheme of the British government last year, the average pay for its CEOs was 2.2 million pounds.
"CEO pay packages are designed to reflect the experience of shareholders, employees and other stakeholders so in one sense the lower pay levels this year show the system working as intended," said High Pay Centre Director Luke Hildyard.
Hildyard however said that despite the lower average pay-out for CEOs, they were high considering that such payments were made at a time when generally it was considered that government support for the economy was potentially more important for the survival and success of the biggest companies of the company than the decisions taken by the executives of the companies.
According to the report, the top five earners last year were Experian's Brian Cassin, who was paid 10.3 million pounds; CRH's Albert Manifold, with 9.92 million pounds payment given to him; Reckitt Benckiser's Laxman Narasimhan being given 9.24 million pounds in 2020 pay, and Berkeley's Rob Perrins who was paid 8.03 million pounds by the company.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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