Mylan shareholders nix execs' pay

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MARINA DEL REY, Calif. -- In a surprising rebuke, shareholders of Mylan Inc. Friday rejected the pay packages for the Cecil-based generic drug company's top executives.

Mylan's board had unanimously recommended that shareholders approve the compensation plans at the company's annual meeting in Marina del Rey, Calif. However, the company said that the majority of stockholders voted against the measure.

Mylan officials declined to provide the exact vote tally on the nonbinding measure, but they said it would be posted within a few days in accordance with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.

Rodney Piatt, chairman of Mylan's compensation committee, later sent a statement to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette saying the measure was defeated "by a small margin."

"Mylan's compensation committee has always been committed to closely aligning management compensation with the interests of our shareholders," Mr. Piatt said. "On a prospective basis, we will take this input from our shareholders into consideration."

Spurred by public outrage over spiraling executive compensation, Congress last year started requiring companies to put their compensation plans to a regular nonbinding shareholder vote. Since then, the vast majority of plans have won overwhelming shareholder approval.

So far this year, of the 461 largest companies nationwide that have held so-called "say on pay" votes, just eight failed to win the nod from shareholders, according to Semler Brossy Consulting Group, a pay consultant in Los Angeles. At nearly 75 percent of those companies, the executive compensation packages passed by a more than 90 percent margin, Semler Brossy said.

Last year, Mylan's Robert Coury was paid $21.3 million as chairman and CEO, down 7 percent from the previous year. He was the highest-paid executive at public companies in the Pittsburgh region in 2011 and 2010.

Heather Bresch, who assumed the CEO's post in January this year, was paid $9.6 million last year as president, up 82 percent from 2010.

Mylan's pay practices have come under fire in recent years from firms that advise pension funds and other institutional shareholders on proxy voting.

Also at Friday's meeting, two shareholder proposals were defeated.

One asked the board to adopt a policy separating the chairman and CEO positions, and requiring that the chairman be an independent director who was not a former or current employee. The second sought greater public disclosure of the company's political contributions.

The board had recommended that shareholders reject both proposals.

This year was the fifth year that Mylan conducted its annual meeting outside of its headquarters region, the last four in California.

businessnews

Gabrielle Banks: pggbanks@gmail.com. Post-Gazette reporter Patricia Sabatini contributed to this story. First Published May 5, 2012 12:00 AM


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