Business Irish

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Icon chief's €7m is best pay package in country

Massive bonus of €4m helped him beat 15 top ISEQ firms

Finbarr Flynn

Icon's Ciaran Murray is the best paid chief executive in Ireland in terms of pay and bonuses, according to Bloomberg calculations.

Mr Murray earned about €7m in 2012, a salary that was higher than that of chief executives at the 15 biggest listed Irish companies on the ISEQ.

Mr Murray, who became chief executive of clinical research business Icon in October 2011 after serving as chief financial officer, was awarded a bonus of $5.4m (€4m) in 2012, according to documents posted ahead of the company's agm. Murray's total pay in 2011 was $1.78m. The company discloses individual parts of compensation in dollars or euro.

"As the company is, to a large extent a people business, the board recognised the importance of financially rewarding key members of the executive management team for delivering such a successful 2012," chairman Thomas Lynch said in a letter to shareholders.

Executives in other companies got more money last year thanks to share options but Mr Murray got the highest cash package which excludes share options.

Aryzta's Owen Killian notched up €15.5m in pay and bonus share deals to cash in the most money among Irish chief executives.

Other wealthy chief executives such as Ryanair's Michael O'Leary got a salary and bonus of just €1.35m but also get generous share options.

Icon, which carries out clinical trials for companies such as Pfizer, ended its Irish stock exchange listing and moved its primary listing to the Nasdaq at the start of the year.


The stock rose 62pc in 2012 and has climbed 29pc this year, giving the company a market value of $2.2bn. Net income more than doubled to $55.4m last year.

Part of Mr Murray's bonus has already been paid and he will receive $1.94m next March and the same figure again the following year, according to the company documents. The unpaid bonus is payable in cash or shares, at the discretion of the compensation committee.

Mr Murray's salary at Icon was €606,000 last year, in addition to share-based compensation of $2.09m, the annual report shows.

Under a separate long-term incentive plan, Mr Murray also stands to benefit from restricted stock units and awards worth $5.96m as of May 1, when they were granted, if he meets certain targets and remains employed till May 2018.

"Our compensation levels are benchmarked against, and are comparable with, our global industry peers," Icon said in a statement. "The rise in certain compensation levels in 2012 appropriately reflects that this was a very successful year for Icon."

Myles Lee, chief executive of CRH, Ireland's largest listed company with a market value of €11.3bn, earned €2.72m last year, according to the company's annual report.

Steve Cutler, president of Icon's clinical research services, earned $4.2m in 2012, including deferred payments, while Murray's successor as CFO Brendan Brennan earned $2.4m.

Irish Independent

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