The CEOs of Pfizer Inc PFE, BioNTech SE BNTX, and Moderna Inc MRNA have shared more than $100 million in pay during the pandemic reflecting the success of the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines developed by their companies.
Pfizers' Albert Bourla, Ugur Sahin of BioNTech, and Stéphane Bancel of Moderna have also seen an increase in their paper wealth thanks to the rise in share price driven by investor enthusiasm.
Pfizer's stock price is up 60% over the past 24 months, while the value of BioNTech and Moderna's shares has tripled and increased by five times, respectively.
Financial Times writes that total remuneration at the three mRNA developers increased to $107.2 million in 2020-2021, compared with $103.7 million in the previous two years.
Pfizer chief Bourla received $45.3 million in 2020-2021, compared with $27.7 million in 2018-2019. Sahin received $30.8 million in remuneration in 2020-21, compared with $8.5 million in 2018/2019.
Bancel's total remuneration fell during the pandemic, declining from $67.5 million in 2018-2019 to $31.1 million in 2020-2021, primarily because of a one-off gain following Moderna's IPO in 2018 netted him $58.6 million of stock option gains.
Luke Hildyard, director of the High Pay Centre, said chief executives at top Wall Street banks still earned more than pharma chiefs, typically $30 million or more each year, but the difference had narrowed.
Some campaigners have criticized these chief executives' pay packets, accusing the companies of unfairly profiting from the pandemic and not doing enough to ensure low-cost access to jabs in developing nations.
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