AstraZeneca is paying its boss a record £19m a year. Is he worth it?

Pascal Soriot was already the highest-paid leader of a FTSE 100 company, but his controversial new pay deal has ignited fierce debate over how much is too much for top bosses, writes James Moore

Friday 12 April 2024 14:05 BST
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot who will receive a pay package £18.7 million in 2024
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot who will receive a pay package £18.7 million in 2024 (PA)

Is any employee worth paying £18.7m? That’s the monster sum AstraZeneca has awarded its chief executive, Pascal Soriot, who’s in line for a £1.5m salary with the rest in mostly share-based bonuses.

Soriot is undoubtedly one of Britain’s top bosses. Over the past five years, AstraZeneca’s shares have increased by 82 per cent, turning £1,000 into £1,820 excluding dividend payments. By contrast, the FTSE 100 has improved by just under 7 per cent. Tracking the performance of the blue-chip stock index would have made you just £1,070 before dividends and charges.

The results are somewhat less impressive over the last year, during which AstraZeneca’s share price has declined by 6.5 per cent while the FTSE 100 has improved by 2 per cent. But it is the long term that really matters, especially with a company like this one, which is sustained by its research and the investments made into that. Over the long term, Astra under Soriot has been a pretty good place to park your money.

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