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Should You Worry About Biogen Inc.'s (NASDAQ:BIIB) CEO Salary Level?

Simply Wall St

Michel Vounatsos became the CEO of Biogen Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB) in 2017. First, this article will compare CEO compensation with compensation at other large companies. Next, we'll consider growth that the business demonstrates. Third, we'll reflect on the total return to shareholders over three years, as a second measure of business performance. This process should give us an idea about how appropriately the CEO is paid.

See our latest analysis for Biogen

How Does Michel Vounatsos's Compensation Compare With Similar Sized Companies?

According to our data, Biogen Inc. has a market capitalization of US$54b, and paid its CEO total annual compensation worth US$16m over the year to December 2018. While this analysis focuses on total compensation, it's worth noting the salary is lower, valued at US$1.3m. We further remind readers that the CEO may face performance requirements to receive the non-salary part of the total compensation. When we examined a group of companies with market caps over US$8.0b, we found that their median CEO total compensation was US$11m. (We took a wide range because the CEOs of massive companies tend to be paid similar amounts - even though some are quite a bit bigger than others).

Thus we can conclude that Michel Vounatsos receives more in total compensation than the median of a group of large companies in the same market as Biogen Inc.. However, this doesn't necessarily mean the pay is too high. We can better assess whether the pay is overly generous by looking into the underlying business performance.

You can see a visual representation of the CEO compensation at Biogen, below.

NasdaqGS:BIIB CEO Compensation, March 1st 2020

Is Biogen Inc. Growing?

Biogen Inc. has increased its earnings per share (EPS) by an average of 27% a year, over the last three years (using a line of best fit). Its revenue is up 6.9% over last year.

This demonstrates that the company has been improving recently. A good result. It's good to see a bit of revenue growth, as this suggests the business is able to grow sustainably. It could be important to check this free visual depiction of what analysts expect for the future.

Has Biogen Inc. Been A Good Investment?

With a total shareholder return of 4.0% over three years, Biogen Inc. has done okay by shareholders. But they probably wouldn't be so happy as to think the CEO should be paid more than is normal, for companies around this size.

In Summary...

We examined the amount Biogen Inc. pays its CEO, and compared it to the amount paid by other large companies. As discussed above, we discovered that the company pays more than the median of that group.

However we must not forget that the EPS growth has been very strong over three years. We also note that, over the same time frame, shareholder returns haven't been bad. While it may be worth researching further, we don't see a problem with the CEO pay, given the good EPS growth. Whatever your view on compensation, you might want to check if insiders are buying or selling Biogen shares (free trial).

If you want to buy a stock that is better than Biogen, 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.