Moderna CEO Draws Criticism for Earning $400M in Stock, Getting Raise



  • French businessman Stéphane Bancel made $393 million in stock options in 2022, according to securities filings.
  • Bancel, 50, also owns stocks valued around at least $2.8 billion, and received a 50% raise from 2021 to 2022.
  • Moderna faces criticism of “corporate greed” by government officials and analysts.

Moderna’s chief executive officer Stéphane Bancel raked in about $393 million in 2022 thanks to stock options, and then received a raise on top of it — compensation that’s giving some analysts pause. 

In addition to exercising his stock options in 2022, 50-year-old Bancel earned a $1.5 million salary — a 50% jump from 2021, according to securities filings from March. Although Bancel donated $176 million after-tax to charity last year and pledged to continue donating, analysts are still critical of the executive pay at Moderna, the Washington Post reported.

In a March blog post, Bancel confirmed his previous announcement of his intention of giving 100% of the after-tax proceeds from the sale of his first Moderna stock option grant to charity in 2023. According to the filings, the billionaire owns stocks worth at least $2.8 billion with extra stock-based compensation valued at around $1.7 billion at the end of 2022.

“Bancel Philanthropies makes donations to people and programs with the potential to transform lives, advance social justice, and heal communities,” the executive wrote in his blog post.

However, his charitable efforts aren’t enough to curb criticism over his compensation, particularly as the development of the Moderna vaccine was supported by $1.7 billion from taxpayers and the National Institutes of Health.

As Wednesday’s annual meeting approaches, shareholders have reportedly been advised against voting in favor of Moderna’s compensation plan, The Post reported.

In a statement to the Washington Post, Moderna stood by raises for top executives, stating the company feels it is “appropriate in light of the increased scope of increasingly global responsibility for Moderna’s executives.” 

The filings come at a time when other CEOs are taking pay cuts amid an economic slowdown, including Apple’s Tim Cook, Zoom’s Eric Juan, and Intel’s Pat Gelsinger, among others. 

Meanwhile, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy’s pay dropped from $212 million in 2021 to $1.3 million in 2022 due to receiving any stock awards. The tech giant also announced it would begin laying off roughly 18,000 employees in January.

Bancel ensured that it was he and his wife’s mission to “seek out other individuals with different lived experiences to help us give away our wealth and have the greatest and most equitable impact.”

In May 2022, the CEO said he planned to give away most of his multi-billion-dollar fortune throughout his life in a pledge similar to those made by fellow billionaires MacKenzie Scott and Bill Gates.

Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke out against Moderna’s “corporate greed” in a March hearing over the company possibly quadruple the price of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“In the pharmaceutical industry today, we are looking at an unprecedented level if corporate greed, and that is certainly true with Moderna,” Sanders said.



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