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Moderna CFO Meline steps down $42 million richer, passing reins to incoming finance chief Gomez

Coming out of retirement to work for Moderna as its chief financial officer was a sweet deal for David Meline.

In fact, it will make him $42 million richer. That’s the current value of his 270,000 stock options—awarded upon his hire in July 2020—which will be fully vested by July 2024. The disclosure came in an SEC filing on Monday and Moderna’s 2022 proxy statement.

On Monday, Moderna revealed that Meline was stepping down and will be replaced by Jorge Gomez, who leaves his post as CFO at Dentsply Sirona. Gomez, 54, previously served as the finance chief at Cardinal Health.

Gomez will receive a base salary of $700,000, compared with $621,000 for Meline last year. He also receives a $4 million new-hire stock package and annual awards between $3 million and $4 million.

Gomez will take his post at Moderna on May 7. After that, Meline remains on as a consultant until July 2024.

“As we grow and scale the company globally, Jorge’s experience leading the financial functions of multinational healthcare companies will be an asset to our team,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a release.

Moderna’s revelation, oddly enough, came the same day Pfizer announced the retirement of its 15-year finance chief Frank D’Amelio. Pfizer is replacing D’Amelio with David Denton, who as CFO at CVS helped orchestrate the company’s transformative acquisition of health insurance giant Aetna.

Emergency FDA approvals for Pfizer and Moderna’s respective mRNA COVID-19 vaccines came seven days apart in December 2020. Now flush with cash, both companies are plotting their R&D and dealmaking strategies.

Meline was CEO at Amgen from 2014 to the end of 2019, when he retired for the first time. Months later, Moderna wooed Meline out of retirement to assist in the company’s commercialization of its COVID-19 vaccine.

Helping convince Meline to enlist were the stock options, the value of which have nearly tripled in less than two years as the company has transformed itself into a major player in the industry.

After sales of $803 million in 2020, Moderna reported revenue of $18.5 billion last year when it delivered more than 800 million doses of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine Spikevax.

“Moderna was an early stage, U.S.-focused company when David joined us,” Bancel said. “He goes back into retirement after having helped transform Moderna into a global commercial company.”