Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla addresses a press conference after a visit to oversee the production of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at the factory of US pharmaceutical company Pfizer in Puurs, Belgium April 23, 2021.
John Thys | Pool | Reuters
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla received $24.3 million in total compensation for 2021, a 15% increase over the prior year as the company’s full-year profit more than doubled with the successful rollout of its Covid vaccine.
Bourla took home a cash incentive of $8 million on top of his salary of $1.69 million. He also received stock and options totaling $13.2 million as well as $1.38 million in other compensation.
Bourla’s total equity holdings, nearly 597,000 shares, are worth more than $32 million as of Thursday’s closing price of $54.24. He’s also entitled to a golden parachute valued at nearly $113 million as of Dec. 31, if the company is sold and he loses his job as a result.
Bourla also received more than $336,000 for home security and more than $60,000 for air travel. His total salary is 262 times higher than the median compensation for a normal employee at Pfizer.
Pfizer booked a profit of nearly $22 billion in 2021, double the previous year as the company’s Covid vaccine became the most widely administered shot against in the US and the European Union. Sales from Pfizer’s Covid vaccine totaled $36.7 billion in 2021, making up about 45% of its annual revenue of $81.2 billion. Pfizer is projecting another $32 billion in vaccine sales this year.
The shot was developed with BioNTech, its German partner, who created the technology underlying the vaccine. Pfizer and BioNTech split profits from the vaccine equally.
Pfizer’s shot was the first Covid vaccine to receive emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in December and also the first to receive full approval from the FDA. The eligibility age has been gradually lowered to everyone over 5 years old.
Pfizer’s Covid treatment pill, Paxlovid, is also expected to become a hit, with the company projecting at least $22 billion in sales.
The vaccine maker’s windfall from the shots are controversial with activist groups, which are calling for the companies to share their intellectual property with developing nations to help boost vaccination coverage. Oxfam America, in a proposal for Pfizer’s annual meeting, has called for shareholders to back a feasibility study on transferring the underlying vaccine technology.
Pfizer’s board of directors has called on shareholders to vote against the proposal, saying transferring the technology behind the shots requires highly skilled local partners that have the know-how to manufacture them. The company has committed to supplying 2 billion vaccine doses to poorer nations by the end of 2022.