Ex-chief of Biogen Idec paid $20.3m

$18.6m was in stock and options

By Robert Weisman
Globe Staff / March 26, 2011

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The former top executive of Biogen Idec Inc. collected $20.3 million in compensation last year, including $18.6 million in stock and option awards, according to a company proxy statement.

James C. Mullen, who stepped down as chief executive in June after two decades at the company, drew a salary of $793,846 and a prorated bonus of $653,400 for the five months he worked at Biogen Idec in 2010, the statement said. It listed other payments of more than $245,000 for Mullen, including deferred earnings and changes in his pension’s value.

Mullen received total compensation of $10.4 million in 2009, the statement said. The Weston-based biotechnology company issued the statement to investors in advance of its June 2 annual meeting.

At that meeting, the statement said, Biogen Idec’s board will recommend that shareholders scrap the current practice of staggering election of board members and replace it with a system that elects every director annually. That could boost the ability of activist investors such as Carl C. Icahn to change the makeup of the board in his favor. Icahn, who already controls three of the 12 board seats, had criticized management under Mullen.

Biogen Idec’s proxy statement said its new chief executive, George A. Scangos, who arrived last July, received total compensation of $9.4 million last year. That included a prorated salary of $516,923, a signing bonus of $500,000, stock awards of $6.9 million, $1.2 million in cash incentive payments, and $288,590 in other payments.

Scangos, a native of Lynn who earned a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was recruited from Exelixis Inc. in San Francisco to run Biogen Idec. In November, he unveiled a restructuring plan that included cutting 650 jobs, ending the company’s research in oncology and cardiovascular medicine, and intensifying its focus on neurology, immunology, and hemophilia treatments.

Robert Weisman can be reached at