New AstraZeneca CEO gets $6.4 million for jumping ship

LONDON Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:31pm GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Struggling British drugmaker AstraZeneca (AZN.L) is giving its new chief executive Pascal Soriot 4 million pounds ($6.44 million) compensation for loss of long-term incentives from his previous employer Roche (ROG.VX).

Soriot - who started in his new post on October 1 after David Brennan left under a cloud of investor discontent four months earlier - will get the award in shares and will have to wait up to eight years to receive the full amount.

The pharmaceutical company, which is battling to turn itself around as key drugs lose patent protection, also said on Monday that Soriot's base salary will be 1.1 million pounds a year, up from the 997,223 pounds Brennan received in 2011.

On top of this, Soriot is eligible for a target annual bonus of 100 percent of base salary and a target expected value for annual long-term incentive awards of 250 percent. He also gets 991,080 pounds for loss of his 2012 bonus at Roche, which he is required to invest in AstraZeneca shares.

The scale of the task facing Soriot was highlighted last week when the group reported a 19 percent fall in third-quarter sales.

Soriot said on October 25 that buying in products would be an important way of rebuilding the pipeline and he promised to update investors about his strategic plans when the company announces full-year results at the end of January.

($1 = 0.6212 British pounds)

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by David Cowell)

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