UPDATED -- 05.19.08 @ 11:20 AM EDT: Susan Ellen Wolf, Corporate Secretary of Schering Plough (quoted in the Forbes story below, as well), has commented on Pharmalot, about this story. Now, come to think of it, I'll likely write an entirely-new post, here -- replying to her defenses, and suggestions of inaccuriacies -- IT IS NOW UP
later today. I'll be updating that response (and this one) with some graphics -- so do check back.
[Sending another "shout-out" to mail3.forbes.com -- IP Address 184.108.40.206 -- South Ozone Park, NYC -- Forbes Inc.! Good to see ya' (again!), here! -- Keep on keepin' on!]
Forbes is all over one of my continuing-theme stories on Schering, this morning! Very cool.
. . . .But Hassan's new stock options, granted on May 1, at $18.86 a share, are already in the money. Schering's board has claimed that the stock price is artificially low. Says the Corporate Library's [Senior Research Associate Paul] Hodgson: "If they really believe that's artificially low, they should have awarded premium price options."
[Schering Corporate Secretary Susan E.] Wolf concedes that the rules only say that the strike has to be at least the market price but that, "You can take any one component and make it harder to get, but the overall goal is to compensate people fairly so they can attract and maintain a top team," she says. . . .
. . . ."It would seem to me that given Hassan's reputation for open-mindedness in terms of compensation, that if there were some doubts about whether he should receive a bonus, he would be more likely than others to voluntarily forfeit it," says Hodgson. "There are not many CEOs I'd say that about, but he would be one of them. . . ."
[Emphasis supplied; full Forbes article here. Do go read it all.]
This is truly gratifying. I first wrote about this narrow topic (premium-priced option grants) some 13 days ago -- the morning after the "at-market" grant was disclosed in an SEC filing -- after that, I amplified my thoughts, twice, the next day, 12 days ago. Then, Ed Silverman, over at the Star-Ledger's Pharmalot.com blog, wrote far more cogently about this same topic, after our several phone conversations -- from which, I believe, we both benefitted immensely -- I know I did.
Now Matt Herper -- in Forbes, no less. Are you listening, Messrs. Hassan and Becherer?
[As to the more general topic of "giving back" his bonus -- I would not hold my breath, here, folks -- CEO Hassan is unlikely to hand it back willingly -- and Schering-Plough Board Compensation Committee Chairman Becherer is highly-unlikely to be so "impolite" [Heh!] as to ask for it back.
I've been on that bonus topic for months. And months. And months.]