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Retiring Abbott CEO's $22.1M pay tops '19 list for US healthcare equipment firms

Abbott Laboratories CEO Miles White was the highest-paid executive in the U.S. healthcare equipment industry in 2019 with a paycheck of $22.1 million, according to rankings of the 15 top-earning CEOs compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

White saw his earnings decrease by 3.4% on an annual basis with a cash payout of $2.6 million but still earned nearly $3 million more than the next executive in the rankings — Danaher Corp.'s Thomas Joyce Jr. White stepped down as Abbott's CEO after 21 years at the company in March, to be replaced by President and COO Robert Ford.

Danaher's Joyce had the second-highest total adjusted compensation in 2019, making $18.2 million. The Washington, D.C.-based healthcare equipment giant paid its top officer $5.5 million in options, another $6.8 million in stocks and $1.9 million in cash compensation.

Besides White, three more CEOs in the top 15 list saw their annual earnings shrink year over year, including Hologic Inc. CEO Stephen MacMillan, whose total adjusted compensation in 2019 was down 70.6% to $12.4 million from $42 million in 2018. He was the highest-paid executive in 2018.

Tandem Diabetes Care Inc. CEO John Sheridan had the highest year-over-year increase in pay in 2019. He saw total compensation swell 445.1% to $10.6 million. The San Diego-based medical equipment manufacturer develops and sells insulin delivery systems and technology for patients with diabetes.

Sheridan got $500,000 in cash compensation, the lowest among all CEOs on the list. In contrast, he received the highest options award among the executives amounting to $9.3 million, followed by top earner White, who got options worth $7.6 million.

D. Keith Grossman was appointed CEO of Nevro Corp. in April 2019 and got $600,000 in cash for the year. He received $12.5 million in stocks, placing him at the ninth position with total adjusted compensation of $13.9 million.

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Boston Scientific Corp.'s Michael Mahoney had the second-highest stock payout valued at about $9.1 million.

Medtronic PLC CEO Omar Ishrak had the third-highest total adjusted compensation in 2019 among executives of U.S. healthcare equipment companies. His earnings amount to $17.5 million, of which $1.8 million was paid in cash. Ishrak retired in April because of the company's policy that places an upper age limit of 65 years for all executive officers.

Becton Dickinson and Co. CEO Vincent Forlenza had the highest CEO-to-median employee salary ratio of 379-to-1. Forlenza received $15.3 million in total payouts in 2019.

The ratio reflects the amount the CEO is paid compared to general workers at the company, calculated by dividing the CEO compensation by the median employee compensation.