AmerisourceBergen awards CEO $14.3M pay package despite $6.6B opioid settlement

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AmerisourceBergen CEO Steven Collis is slated to receive a 2020 pay package 24 percent larger than the one he received for 2019, a bonus the drugmaker made possible by removing its $6.6 billion opioid settlement costs from its year-end CEO evaluation, according to a March 2 report from The Washington Post.

In AmerisourceBergen's Jan. 28 solicitation to investors, the board of directors recommended Mr. Collis' 2020 pay package will be $14.3 million. The board wrote that Mr. Collis earned the bonus because the company surpassed every performance metric linked to executive payouts.

By removing the $6.6 billion settlement, AmerisourceBergen turned the company's $3.4 billion loss from 2020 (the worst annual loss recorded in company history) into a $1.6 billion adjusted profit, according to the Post.

Removing the opioid settlement for his year-end review qualified Mr. Collis for at least $10.2 million more in cash and equity that he would have received if the settlement had been included, corporate governance analyst Michael Pryce-Jones told the Post.

AmerisourceBergen's board issued a three-page letter to investors March 2, in which it justified the pay package by writing Mr. Collis helped the company produce shareholder returns faster than other drugmakers and led the company through the pandemic. 

"Including the impact of the legal expense accrual would not be in the best interests of the company’s stockholders," the board said in the letter.

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