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Company director salaries creep up in 2010

Salaries went up slightly in 2010 for top executives at the 48 biggest companies on the Swiss stock exchange.

CEOs and directors at the companies earned a total of SFr1.29 billion ($1.55 billion), a two per cent rise over 2009, according to an annual report on top pay by the Ethos Foundation.

The average salary for company directors was SFr3.1 million and board chairmen were paid SFr2.4 million.

Novartis president and former CEO Daniel Vasella was the top earner, taking home SFr24.5 million. The company’s current CEO Joseph Jiminez earned SFr12.9 million, slightly more than the Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke’s SFr12.4 million and Roche CEO Severin Schwan’s SFr11.9 million.

Those working in finance saw the biggest salary increases – eight per cent – while other sectors remained almost stable. Basic salaries also rose sharply in finance, also in contrast to other sectors.  

More than half of directors’ pay equated to bonuses. Among financial firms bonuses represented on average 78 per cent of earnings.

The foundation said however that shareholder opposition to bonuses had grown in 2010, with 56 per cent of firms putting the issue to a vote during their annual general meeting. Among shareholders, 16 per cent were opposed last year compared with ten per cent in 2009. and agencies


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