General Counsel Salaries Continue To Increase While Bonuses Shrink

, New Jersey Law Journal


Salaries rising

High-Paid J&J Counsel Out

The loss of Johnson & Johnson general counsel Russell Deyo, who perennially topped the New Jersey rankings, skewed the averages significantly. He retired in March 2012 after 27 years with the New Brunswick company, the last seven of those as general counsel.

Deyo's $895,269 salary, $4 million bonus and $5.6 million in total compensation for 2011 easily would have put him at the top of this year's list in each category. Deyo ranked No. 3 in the nation in last year's Corporate Counsel's top 100, behind only CBS Corp.'s Louis Briskman and Philip Morris International Inc.'s David Bernick.

Deyo was replaced by J&J legal department veteran Michael Ullmann, whose 2012 income wasn't reported to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission because he's not in the top five executive earners. Ullmann has been an in-house lawyer for the company since 1989.

Taking Deyo's place in the No. 1 spot is Bruce Kuhlik of Merck & Co. Inc. in Whitehouse Station, with $1.69 million in total cash compensation—$791,664 in salary plus an $898,270 bonus). Kuhlik was No. 2 on last year's list and No. 3 the year before.

Occupying the second spot, with $1.61 million in total cash, is Ellen Oran Kaden of Campbell Soup Co. in Camden, who was No. 5 in each of the past two years.

Rounding out the top five are three more GCs who eclipsed the $1 million mark in total cash: Paul Antinori of The Medicines Co., a pharmaceutical company in Parsippany ($1.11 million); Roy Smith of Cytec Industries Inc. of Woodland Park, a specialty chemicals company ($1.11 million); and David Buchen of Actavis in Parsippany, a pharmaceutical company ($1.10 million).

In the Corporate Counsel survey, Kuhlik, Kaden and Buchen ranked 37th, 56th and 76th, respectively. Antinori and Smith, though they earned more than Buchen, are not included.

Equity Stakes, Higher Takes

Salary and bonuses are one thing, but in 2012—as always—the in-house lawyers who had the biggest paydays are those who held significant equity stakes in their companies and exercised options.

Though their cash totals were in some cases middling, the lawyers who benefitted most from options cash-ins also had the highest total take-home pay (salary plus bonuses plus options exercised).

Those four are: William Farran of Innophos Holdings Inc. of Cranbury, which makes phosphates for use in food and pharmaceutical products ($3.63 million total take-home); Thomas Riordan of Rockwood Holdings in Princeton, a specialty chemical company ($3.59 million); Michael Prevoznik of Madison-based Quest Diagnostics, a clinical laboratory services provider ($3.49 million); and Buchen ($3.09 million).

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