15 'overpaid' healthcare CEOs: Their paths to the top

On Nov. 15, As You Sow issued its 10th report on "overpaid" CEOs among the S&P 500.

The nonprofit shareholder advocacy group analyzes CEO pay compared to total shareholder return to calculate excess pay; ranks the percentage of shares that voted against the CEO pay package; and identifies the ratio of CEO pay to that of the median employee. The latest report from As You Sow built on a report the nonprofit released in February with new compensation data. It includes grant date pay, which values stock granted to a CEO as part of pay at its market price at the time the grant is awarded or announced. 

The latest report from As You Sow included 15 "overpaid" CEOs leading large companies that intersect with healthcare.

Becker's has charted their careers from the early days at college to the high-paying helms of companies. 

Safra Catz (Oracle) 

Pay: $138.19 million

  • Ms. Catz has served as CEO of Oracle since 2014 and been a member of the company's board of directors for more than two decades.
  • She previously served as president of Oracle and has also served as CFO of the company.
  • She has served on The Walt Disney Co. board of directors since 2018.
  • Ms. Catz received a bachelor's degree from the Philadelphia-based Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and obtained her law degree at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.

Doug McMillon (Walmart) 

Pay: $25.31 million

  • Mr. McMillon was named president and CEO of Walmart in 2014. 
  • Before his current role, he was president and CEO of Walmart International, and he served as president and CEO of Sam's Club from 2005 to 2009.
  • Mr. McMillon serves on the boards of directors of Business Roundtable, the Consumer Goods Forum and the U.S.-China Business Council. He also is on the advisory board of the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing.
  • He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Tulsa (Okla.)

Ari Bousbib (IQVia Holdings) 

Pay: $30.14 million

  • Mr. Bousbib has held his current role since October 2016 following the merger of Quintiles and IMS Health. Before the merger, he helmed IMS Health. 
  • He previously held leadership jobs at United Technologies Corp., the parent company of Otis Elevator Co., Carrier Corp., UTC Power, UTC Fire & Security, Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky Aircraft and Hamilton Sundstrand.
  • Mr. Bousbib previously served as partner at Booz Allen Hamilton, a global management and technology consulting firm.
  • He received an MBA from New York City-based Columbia University and a Master of Science degree in mathematics and mechanical engineering from Ecole Superieure des Travaux Publics in Paris.

Marc Casper (Thermo Fisher Scientific) 

Pay: $28.21 million

  • Mr. Casper has served as president and CEO of Thermo Fisher Scientific since October 2009 and was elected chair of the company's board in 2020.
  • Following the merger creating Thermo Fisher Scientific in 2006, he held various roles at the company including executive vice president and president of its analytical technologies businesses. He became COO of Thermo Fisher Scientific in 2008.
  • Previously, Mr. Casper was president, CEO and a director of Kendro Laboratory Products. He also previously worked for clinical diagnostics provider Dade Behring.
  • Mr. Casper received an MBA with high distinction from Boston-based Harvard Business School and a bachelor's degree in economics from Middletown, Conn.-based Wesleyan University.

Joseph Hogan (Align Technology) 

Pay: $18.68 million

  • Mr. Hogan has served as president, CEO, and a director of Align Technology since 2015.
  • Previously, he served as CEO of ABB, a Switzerland-based global power and automation technologies company.
  • He spent 25 years at General Electric in executive and management roles, including eight years as CEO of GE Healthcare.
  • Mr. Hogan earned an MBA from Moon Township, Pa.-based Robert Morris University and a bachelor's degree in business and economics from Beaver Falls, Pa.-based Geneva College.

Christopher Viehbacher (Biogen)
Pay: $30.49 million

  • Mr. Viehbacher has served as president and CEO of Biogen and a member of the company's board of directors since November 2022. 
  • For six years, he served as global CEO of Sanofi, a global healthcare and pharmaceutical company.
  • Mr. Viehbacher and Ernesto Bertarelli co-founded Gurnet Point Capital, a Cambridge, Mass.-based healthcare investment fund.
  • Mr. Viehbacher graduated from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, and speaks three languages.

Karen Lynch (CVS Health)
Pay: $21.32 million

  • Ms. Lynch became president and CEO of CVS Health in 2021 after serving as its executive vice president and president of Aetna. 
  • Before joining CVS Health, she held executive roles at Cigna and Magellan Health.
  • She began her career as a public accountant for Ernst & Young. 
  • Ms. Lynch has a bachelor's in accounting from Boston College and an MBA from Boston University Questrom School of Business. 

Rosalind Brewer (Walgreens Boots Alliance) 

Pay: $17.29 million

  • Ms. Brewer served as CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance from March 2021 through September 2023, when she stepped down from the role citing a mutual decision with the retail chain's board. 
  • Prior to her time at Walgreens, Ms. Brewer served in a number of high-profile roles, including COO and group president of Starbucks; president and CEO of Sam's Club; and president of Walmart's East division. 
  • For 22 years, she worked at the manufacturing company Kimberly-Clark, which is responsible for brands such as Huggies and Kleenex. Eventually, she became president of the company's global nonwovens division. 
  • Ms. Brewer has a bachelor's in chemistry from Atlanta-based Spelman College. She also attended the Director's College at Stanford (Calif.) University and Advanced Management Program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. 

Charles Robbins (Cisco Systems) 

Pay: $29.28 million

  • Mr. Robbins became CEO of Cisco in July 2015 and was elected chair of the board of directors in December 2017. 
  • He has served the company for more than 20 years and held a number of leadership roles across the enterprise, including senior vice president of worldwide field operations; senior vice president of the Americas; and senior vice president of U.S. commercial sales. 
  • Prior to joining Cisco, Mr. Robbins held positions at Bay Networks, a network hardware vendor that was acquired by Northern Telecom in 1998, and Ascend Communications, a communications equipment manufacturer that was purchased by Lucent Technologies in 1999. 
  • He holds a bachelor's in mathematics with a computer science concentration  from Chapel Hill-based University of North Carolina. 

Ajei Gopal (Ansys) 

Pay: $21.87 million

  • Mr. Gopal has led Ansys as president and CEO since 2017. 
  • He was appointed to the company's board as an independent director in 2011 and was employed as president and COO in 2016. 
  • Prior to joining Ansys, Mr. Gopal was an operating partner at the private equity technology investor Silver Lake. He previously held senior leadership roles at a number of software and technology companies, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Symantec and CA Technologies. 
  • In 2000, Mr. Gopal co-founded the telecommunications company ReefEdge Networks, where he served as CEO and a member of the board of directors. 
  • He began his career at IBM, working in the research and software groups between 1991 and 2000. 
  • Mr. Gopal holds a bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the Mumbai, India-based Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and a PhD in computer science from Ithaca, N.Y.-based Cornell University. 

Joseph Zubretsky (Molina Healthcare) 

Pay: $22.13 million

  • Mr. Zubretsky had more than 35 years of experience when he took the helm at Molina Healthcare. He previously served as president and CEO of the Hanover Insurance Group. 
  • Earlier in his career, he joined Aetna as chief financial officer and held the role for six years. He was promoted to other positions within the enterprise, including CEO of its Healthagen Holdings subsidiary and senior executive vice president of its largest flagship business unit. 
  • Mr. Zubretsky began his career at Coopers & Lybrand, eventually becoming a partner of its national insurance practice. He moved on to hold two executive vice presidencies with separate insurance companies and become a partner of a global private equity firm. 
  • He earned his bachelor's in business administration from the University of Hartford (Conn.). 

David Cordani (Cigna) 

Pay: $20.97 million

  • Mr. Cordani became chair and CEO of Cigna in 2009. 
  • He had served the Cigna Group since 1991, holding various regional leadership positions including president of Cigna Healthcare and controller for the Cigna Group. In 2008, he was promoted to the Cigna Group's president and chief operating officer.
  • Before joining Cigna, Mr. Cordani was a senior auditor for Coopers & Lybrand.
  • He received a bachelor's degree in business administration from College Station-based Texas A&M University and an MBA from the University of Hartford. 

Robert Ford (Abbott Laboratories) 

Pay: $21.72 million

  • Mr. Ford was named CEO of Abbott Laboratories in 2020 after serving as president and chief operating officer since 2018. In December 2021, he was named chair of the board in addition to the CEO title. 
  • He began his career with Abbott in the diabetes care business, eventually becoming executive vice president of medical devices and leading the company's diabetes care, cardiovascular and neuromodulation businesses. In 2017, Mr. Ford led Abbott's integration of St. Jude Medical — its largest acquisition at the time. 
  • He holds a bachelor's degree from Boston College and an MBA from UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. 

Richard Gonzalez (AbbVie) 

Pay: $26.29 million

  • Mr. Gonzalez assumed the top role at AbbVie in 2013. 
  • He served Abbott Laboratories for 30 years— holding multiple top leadership roles in its medical products businesses — before the company separated from Abbvie in January 2013.
  • Between 2002 and 2007, his credentials were misstated on Abbott Laboratories regulatory filings; he is not known to hold a university degree. In 2007, he briefly retired from his role as chief operating officer of Abbott Laboratories. 
  • Mr. Gonzalez attended the University of Houston from 1972 to 1973, but was not granted a degree for his program in biochemistry. He was also a research biochemist at the University of Miami School of Medicine. 

Michael Goettler (Viatris) 

Pay: $14.67 million

  • Prior to assuming the helm of Viatris, Mr. Goettler led a career with Pfizer, which he joined in 2009 as a part of the Wyeth acquisition. He was the group president of the company's Upjohn division — its off-patent and generics business — and served stints as its global president of inflammation and immunology; global president of the rare disease business; global commercial officer; and president of specialty care in Europe. 
  • Before joining Wyeth and Pfizer, Mr. Goettler held various senior-level positions at the pharmaceutical company Sanofi Aventis in both the U.S. and Japan. 
  • He began his career at Hoechst, which was a German chemical and pharmaceutical company before its 1999 merger with France's Rhône-Poulenc S.A. to create Aventis Deutschland.
  • Mr. Goettler graduated from the Koblenz School of Corporate Management in Vallendar, Germany, and earned an MBA at the University of Texas-Austin. 

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