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Former Gilead CEO's pay rises to $16.7M in 2018

Former Gilead Sciences Inc. CEO John Milligan's compensation for 2018 increased by 2% to $16.7 million, excluding share-based incremental expense, making him the highest-paid executive in the pharmaceutical sector so far.

Milligan stepped down as president, CEO and director of the Foster City, Calif.-based biotechnology company effective at the end of 2018, ending his 28-year career with the U.S. maker of antiviral medicines Harvoni and Atripla. He transitioned to the executive adviser role in Jan. 1 and remained on the post until March 1.

He earned $1.5 million in base salary and received $3.3 million as bonus payment, awarded after Gilead achieved corporate financial and operational performance goals in 2018.

The former CEO's pay increase comes after Gilead's annual product sales in 2018 fell to $21.68 billion, a figure that has been declining since 2015 due to competition against its flagship hepatitis C drugs, such as Sovaldi and Harvoni. The company is now banking on its HIV drugs, particularly Biktarvy, as it seeks to return to year-over-year product revenue growth in 2019.

The ratio of Milligan's annual total compensation compared to Gilead's median employee's total annual compensation for fiscal year 2018 is 102 to 1.

Daniel O'Day, the former CEO of Roche Holding AG's pharmaceuticals group, succeeded Milligan on March 1. His annual base salary has been set at $1.6 million per year.