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Walgreen CEO compensation slips to $12 million

Walgreen CEO Gregory D. Wasson's total compensation slipped in fiscal 2012, as earnings sank 21 percent and a contract dispute hurt revenue for the nation's largest drugstore operator.

Wasson, 54, received compensation valued at about $12 million for the fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, according to the Deerfield company's annual proxy statement filed Monday. That represented a 1 percent drop compared to fiscal 2011.

Wasson, who became CEO in 2009, received a $1.3 million salary, which represented an 8 percent increase from the previous year. The executive also received a performance-related bonus of $1.2 million that was 57 percent smaller than the previous year. Stock and option awards totaled $8.9 million in the recently completed fiscal year.

The CEO also received $657,304 in other compensation, according to the proxy. That consisted largely of an executive deferred profit sharing plan and dividend equivalents on unvested restricted stock.

Walgreen Co. runs more than 8,000 drug stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It earned $2.13 billion, or $2.42 per share, in fiscal 2012, as revenue slipped less than 1 percent to $71.63 billion. Its stock climbed about 2 percent to close fiscal 2012 at $35.76.

Wasson told analysts in late September that the fiscal year had been challenging, but it also had been a very important and strategic year for Walgreen, which made key acquisitions during the year.

The company's earnings fell in part because it had recorded a $434 million gain from the sale of its pharmacy benefits business in the previous fiscal year. Walgreen's performance also was affected in fiscal 2012 by its split with Express Scripts Holding Co., which runs prescription drug plans for employers, insurers and other clients as the nation's largest pharmacy benefits manager.

The companies had let a contract between them lapse at the end of last year, and their new agreement to do business didn't start until Sept. 15, or after the fiscal year had ended. In between, Walgreen's monthly sales totals slipped as Express Scripts clients filled their prescriptions elsewhere.

Walgreen also took big steps toward growth in fiscal 2012. The company spent $4 billion in cash and more than 83 million shares for a 45 percent ownership stake in Alliance Boots, a Swiss company that runs the largest drugstore chain in the United Kingdom. Walgreens has said the deal will make it the world's single largest purchaser of prescription drugs.

Walgreen also agreed to buy a 144-store regional drugstore chain that includes USA Drug and Med-X among other stores.

The company also increased its quarterly dividend to 27.5 cents per share, up from 22.5 cents. The new rate is the largest in the company's 111-year history, according to its proxy statement.

The Associated Press executive compensation formula is designed to isolate the value the company's board placed on the executive's total compensation package during the last fiscal year. It includes salary, bonus, performance-related bonuses, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year

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