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Mylan CEO's private use of company jet costs more than $1M in 2 years

| Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Coury

Mylan Inc.'s former CEO racked up more than $1 million in personal use of the company's corporate jet during the past two years, company financial statements show.

Robert J. Coury, who this year became executive chairman of the Cecil-based drugmaker after a decade as CEO, used Mylan's jet – a Bombardier Global Express the size of a regional airliner – to fly to and from concerts where his son performed, among other personal uses, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. The newspaper found more than a dozen instances in 2010 and early 2011 in which the Mylan jet flew to cities where Coury's son was performing.

Coury, 52, of Collier could not be reached for comment. The company issued a statement on his behalf, noting he is “actively involved in his son's music career” and the activities of all of his children.

“Mr. Coury's employment contracts permit him to engage in outside personal activities, including those related to his son Tino's career,” spokeswoman Nina Devlin said in the statement.

“Mylan's employment contracts with Mr. Coury for the past decade also have authorized his use of the corporate aircraft for both business and personal reasons. Those provisions have long been a matter of public record. Mr. Coury has not received any tax-related gross up associated with personal use of the plane since 2010,” she said.

Compensation records show Coury's personal use of the jet totaled $500,779 in 2011 and $535,590 in 2010. Coury made more than $20 million a year in 2010 and 2011 at Mylan. He received $7,830 last year to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses.

The publicly traded company grew to become one of the world's largest generic drugmakers under Coury, who was CEO from 2002 to 2011. Its stock hit a high on Tuesday, closing at $28.30 a share.

Coury's compensation in 2010 and 2011 was the highest among Pittsburgh-area CEOs. Adding up salary, stock and option awards, bonuses and perks, Coury hauled in $21.3 million last year and $22.9 million in 2010.

Though some large companies provide perks such as a free car, personal use of aircraft, free financial planning and housing allowances, the practice is waning, said Vineeta Anand, chief research analyst for the AFL-CIO Office of Investment, which advocates for union-sponsored pension plans and corporate governance.

Some companies require executives to repay the cost of using a corporate jet for personal travel. Mylan's board has yet to make Coury pay.

“The board is supposed to look out for shareholder interests, and clearly this board is not doing its job,” Anand said.

Perks don't provide an incentive for executives to improve company performance, which is why perks are diminished and compensation is tied to gains in share price, earnings or other factors that benefit shareholders, Anand said.

“A man who gets $20 million can't afford to pay for an airplane ticket?” she said, referring to Coury's use of Mylan's jet. “How absurd is that?”

Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or anixon@tribweb.com.

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