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How Should Investors Feel About bluebird bio, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:BLUE) CEO Pay?

Simply Wall St

Nick Leschly has been the CEO of bluebird bio, Inc. (NASDAQ:BLUE) since 2010. This report will, first, examine the CEO compensation levels in comparison to CEO compensation at companies of similar size. Next, we'll consider growth that the business demonstrates. And finally we will reflect on how common stockholders have fared in the last few years, as a secondary measure of performance. This process should give us an idea about how appropriately the CEO is paid.

View our latest analysis for bluebird bio

How Does Nick Leschly's Compensation Compare With Similar Sized Companies?

Our data indicates that bluebird bio, Inc. is worth US$5.3b, and total annual CEO compensation was reported as US$24m for the year to December 2018. While we always look at total compensation first, we note that the salary component is less, at US$610k. We note that more than half of the total compensation is not the salary; and performance requirements may apply to this non-salary portion. When we examined a selection of companies with market caps ranging from US$4.0b to US$12b, we found the median CEO total compensation was US$6.6m.

As you can see, Nick Leschly is paid more than the median CEO pay at companies of a similar size, in the same market. However, this does not necessarily mean bluebird bio, Inc. is paying too much. We can better assess whether the pay is overly generous by looking into the underlying business performance.

The graphic below shows how CEO compensation at bluebird bio has changed from year to year.

NasdaqGS:BLUE CEO Compensation, December 19th 2019

Is bluebird bio, Inc. Growing?

bluebird bio, Inc. has reduced its earnings per share by an average of 24% a year, over the last three years (measured with a line of best fit). In the last year, its revenue is up 36%.

The reduction in earnings per share, over three years, is arguably concerning. On the other hand, the strong revenue growth suggests the business is growing. In conclusion we can't form a strong opinion about business performance yet; but it's one worth watching. It could be important to check this free visual depiction of what analysts expect for the future.

Has bluebird bio, Inc. Been A Good Investment?

Most shareholders would probably be pleased with bluebird bio, Inc. for providing a total return of 50% over three years. This strong performance might mean some shareholders don't mind if the CEO were to be paid more than is normal for a company of its size.

In Summary...

We compared the total CEO remuneration paid by bluebird bio, Inc., and compared it to remuneration at a group of similar sized companies. Our data suggests that it pays above the median CEO pay within that group.

One might like to have seen stronger growth, but shareholder returns have been pleasing, over the last three years. So, considering these tasty returns, the CEO compensation may be quite appropriate. CEO compensation is one thing, but it is also interesting to check if the CEO is buying or selling bluebird bio (free visualization of insider trades).

If you want to buy a stock that is better than bluebird bio, this free list of high return, low debt companies is a great place to look.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.