Acambis chief was given £1.8m pay-off

John Brown, who quit as chief executive of the smallpox vaccine group Acambis last year, was awarded a severance package worth £1.8m - several times larger than the deal he was entitled to under his contract.

John Brown, who quit as chief executive of the smallpox vaccine group Acambis last year, was awarded a severance package worth £1.8m - several times larger than the deal he was entitled to under his contract.

The payout, revealed yesterday, included the early vesting of share options worth more than £1m, granted at the discretion of the company's remuneration committee. There is also a one-off consultancy fee and compensation for loss of office amounting to more than the 12-month notice period on Dr Brown's £288,000-a-year contract.

Details of the payments are included in Acambis's annual report, which would have landed on shareholders' doormats in the same week that the company's shares lost 12 per cent of their value. On Tuesday, Acambis was forced to halt trials of its flagship smallpox vaccine amid concerns over a high number of heart problems among volunteers.

Dr Brown left at the end of 2003 after nine years at the company. The quietly spoken Scot oversaw the transformation of Acambis from a loss-making biotech into a profitable vaccines group, thanks largely to a giant anti-bioterrorism contract with the US government.

Acambis said Dr Brown's additional severance awards were a reward for success, not a payment for failure. "The remuneration committee viewed Dr Brown's contribution over the years as an outstanding one. He took a small company worth around £30m and turned it into one of the few, perhaps the only, successful UK biotech," a spokesman said.

The centrepiece of the award is the vesting of 620,000 share options under a 1999 performance plan which would have lapsed with Dr Brown's departure. The optionswere worth a little over £1m yesterday.

The spokesman said Acambis was well on course to achieve the performance goals that would have allowed the share options to vest, should Dr Brown have stayed on. He went on to describe £450,000 cash compensation for loss of office as a "negotiated settlement". It included a year's salary from the time Dr Brown left in December - rather than from the September date at which he signalled his intention to leave - plus a sum equivalent to his 2003 pension contributions and bonus. A further £360,000 payment is to keep Dr Brown available to give "strategic advice" this year.

Dr Brown is chairman of the Roslin Institute, which cloned Dolly the sheep, and took non-executive posts at two UK-listed biotechs, Protherics and Pharmagene, after leaving Acambis.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manager - (communications, testing, DM)

£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Direct Marketing Manager - B2C, Financial Services - Slough

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity h...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas