Biotechnology chief executives are in their own league when itcomes to compensation, according to a survey conducted by theBoston office of William M. Mercer Inc., a managementconsulting firm. With average earnings of $608,300, countingstock incentives, biotech CEOs are paid 71 percent more thanthe $335,300 earned by high-tech chief executives as a whole,and 114 percent more than the $284,800 paid CEOs inmanufacturing industries.

The survey, conducted last year, questioned 26 biotechnologycompanies nationwide concerning compensation for chiefexecutive officers only.

"While we looked only at compensation for the top positions,those high levels set higher pay scales throughout the entireorganization," said Mercer survey leader Beth Florin-Thuma.

Biotech companies use stock as a form of compensation moreextensively and cash less extensively than any other industry,the survey found. More than 75 percent of the CEOs hadreceived stock equity awards, but only 7 percent were eligiblefor cash bonuses.

Executives from Massachusetts-based biotech firms earnedhigher amounts than their counterparts on the West Coast. Theaverage total compensation for a New England biotech CEO was$1.1 million, with $667,300 of this coming in the form of longterm stock incentives.

The higher salaries on the East Coast are thought to reflectgreater regional competition, as well influences of relatedindustries such as the pharmaceutical industry, said JosephRich, a principal in Mercer's Boston office.

-- Rachel Nowak Washington Bureau Chief

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.