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Pharmaceutical bosses remain best paid CEOs

Joe Jimenez is by far the best-paid CEO in Switzerland Keystone

The heads of Basel-based pharmaceutical companies Novartis and Roche are the two best-paid managers of Switzerland’s 30 biggest publically traded firms.

This content was published on March 21, 2014 - 18:42
swissinfo.ch and agencies

Novartis’ Joe Jimenez earned CHF13.2 million ($16 million) last year, while Severin Schwan of crosstown competitor Roche raked in CHF11.9 million. The two men already had the highest salaries in 2012.

Third place went to Transocean CEO Steven L. Newman who took home an estimated CHF11.6 million, although that figure has yet to be confirmed and could even be higher.

UBS boss Sergio Ermotti also had a profitable 2013, with his salary also reaching eight figures at CHF10.7 million. However he still managed to earn less than the head of his investment banking unit, Andrea Orcel, who raked in CHF11.4 million.

Nestlé’s Paul Bulcke was fifth of the CEO ranking with CHF9.3 million, ahead of Credit Suisse boss Brady Dougan and the head of the Zurich Insurance Group, Martin Senn.

Firms such as Richemont, Swiss Re, Swatch, Adecco, Actelion, Clariant and Julius Bär also provided comfortable incomes for their top managers.

CEO salaries and bonuses increased at 12 of the 30 firms that make up the Swiss Leader Index of the Swiss stock exchange. At ten others, they decreased while there were no changes at two others. Exact figures are still not available for six others.

Upper management at these companies did well in 2013, with their income increasing 3.9%. At UBS for example, members of the executive committee – not counting Ermotti - each earned CHF7.2 million on average, making the bank the highest paying employer for it top managers.

Just one year ago, a  proposal to rein in pay-outs to top managers and company board members won an overwhelming majority in a nationwide ballot. More than two thirds of Swiss voters came out in favour of granting shareholders a veto right over salaries and bonuses for the top flight of listed companies.

However later in the year, the same voters refused to cap top salaries at companies at 12 times maximum that of the firm’s lowest earners.

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