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Former Pfizer CEO Ian Read's 2018 pay fell to $19.5M from record high in 2017

Former Pfizer Inc. CEO Ian Read's 2018 compensation fell to $19.5 million from a record high of $27.9 million in 2017, according to the company's 2018 annual report.

Read, who had been at the helm of the New York-based drugmaker for eight years, stepped down as CEO effective Jan. 1 and transitioned to the role of executive chairman.

He left the top job with a legacy of executing on several multibillion-dollar acquisitions to fill the company's pipeline as well as the upcoming challenges of navigating through patent expirations as well as pricing pressure on flagship products.

Read came out as the highest paid CEO in the U.S. pharmaceutical sector in 2017, when he received a one-time equity award of $8 million as an incentive to continue leading the company when he was eligible to retire.

The 2018 salary cut represents an about 38% year-over-year reduction in Read's long-term incentive award value from $13 million to $8 million to reflect the leadership transition. The long-term incentive award is completely based on company equity grants and accounted for 73% of Read's 2018 target direct compensation.

However, his annual bonus increased to $3 million from $2.6 million in 2017. Read was succeeded by former Pfizer COO Albert Bourla, whose compensation in 2018 came to $9.9 million.

The company said Read's 2018 accomplishments included advancing 42 programs across all therapeutic areas in the pipeline and receiving seven key regulatory approvals. He was also credited with returning about $20.2 billion to shareholders in 2018 through a combination of dividends and share repurchases.

The board set Bourla's 2019 base salary at $1.6 million along with short-term incentive opportunity of $2.6 million and annual long-term incentive award of $12 million. Read was awarded a base salary of $2 million in 2018.