Pfizer Inc on Friday said Chief Executive Jeff Kindler received compensation of more than $13 million in 2008, a year when company profits slumped and its shares fell 22 per cent.
The world's largest drugmaker said in a regulatory filing that 2008 compensation for Kindler, by a standard calculation method known as summary compensation, jumped 45 per cent to $13.77 million.
But using another methodology known as total direct compensation -- which does not include certain types of amortisation -- the filing said Kindler's pay fell 5 per cent in 2008 to $13.1 million.
That method factors in four types of compensation, including Kindler's 2008 salary of $1.58 million, an annual incentive award of $3 million, long-time awards valued at $8.3 million and perks valued at about $228,000.
The company said salary freezes will apply to all top corporate executives in 2009, except to its president of pharmaceutical operations Ian Read, whose pay will rise due a promotion.
The company's profit fell slightly in 2008, on flat revenue, hurt by Pfizer's continuing failure to launch big-selling medicines needed to replace drugs whose sales have plunged due to competition from cheaper generics.
Pfizer's biggest challenge comes in 2011, when its $12 billion-a-year Lipitor cholesterol fighter loses US patent protection and confronts cheaper generic competition. Lipitor is the world's biggest-selling drug.
To insulate itself from that long-feared patent shock, Pfizer in late January announced plans to buy US rival Wyeth
in a deal then valued at $68 billion.
The merger, which would greatly expand Pfizer's revenue and array of medicines, is expected to close by the end of the third quarter or in the early fourth quarter.
Cost savings from the merger, including layoffs of thousands of employees, could prop up earnings for a few years, as others drugs lose patent protection and face sales declines.
But investors remain concerned whether Pfizer's research engine will remain stalled, as it has been essentially since the company purchased two other large drugmakers over the past decade -- Warner Lambert and Pharmacia.
Few big-selling new medicines have emerged from Pfizer's own laboratories since the company introduced anti-impotence drug Viagra in 1998.