The New York City and State pension funds and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System are fighting the re-election of six board members at drugmaker Mylan (MYL) and its 2016 executive pay awards, including Chairman Robert Coury’s compensation of more than $97 million.
The funds, along with Dutch-based pension fund PGGM, said they control 4.3 million shares of the company and are urging shareholders to vote against the company at Mylan’s June 22 annual meeting.
In a May 30 letter released on Wednesday in a regulatory filing, the funds said Coury’s compensation in 2016 totalled $160 million including vesting and other payments, and came despite the scandal over price hikes for its emergency allergy treatment EpiPen – and the sharp decline in the share price that followed it.
The company has been the subject of federal and state investigations and agreed last fall to pay $465 million to settle U.S. Justice Department allegations that it overcharged the government for EpiPen.
The letter noted the decline in Mylan shares, which now trade for around $40, less than half the $82 that rival Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEA) had offered to buy the company for in April 2015.
“All of the mudslinging back-and-forth between Mylan and Teva only served to reinforce our concern that Chairman Coury would rather keep his pay and power at Mylan’s helm than likely lose those benefits to Teva cost- and position-cutting,” the investors wrote.
Mylan said in a statement that Coury’s compensation “was granted and earned over his 15-year tenure as CEO and then Executive Chairman or directly relates to his retirement as an executive in 2016 and transition to Non-Executive Chairman.” The company said that its compensation is designed to drive execution against its strategy and is aligned with performance and long-term shareholder value.
Regarding its overall performance, the company said “despite industry-wide headwinds in 2016, including volatility and valuation contraction in the generic and specialty pharmaceutical industry, Mylan delivered strong financial and operational results for the year, and outperformed many of its peers.”