BERLIN — Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG has agreed with its outgoing chairman to scrap plans for a farewell non-compete deal that could have netted him up to 72 million francs ($78 million).
The announcement followed criticism from some of the Basel-based company’s shareholders and Swiss politicians.
Daniel Vasella, 59, who is retiring later this month, said Tuesday that he and the company had agreed to forgo a “non-compete” pay-out that many people found “unreasonably high.”
“I have understood that many people in Switzerland find the amount of the compensation linked to the non-compete agreement unreasonably high, despite the fact I had announced my intention to make the net amount available for philanthropic activities,” Vasella said in a statement.
News of the deal, under which Vasella would have earned up to 12 million francs a year for six years — almost the equivalent of his current basic salary — for not advising Novartis’ competitors over the coming years, emerged last week. It was immediately met with a scathing response in Switzerland, where executive pay has become a sensitive issue recently.