Ventas CEO Debra Cafaro's compensation declined 11.5% last year, to $9.6 million, the heath care real estate investment trust reported in a proxy filing ahead of next month's annual meeting.
The decline was solely attributable to a decrease in incentive compensation. Her base salary, $1.075 million, was unchanged. In 2015, her total comp was $10.9 million, up from $10.1 million in 2014.
The drop in pay came despite total shareholder returns of 16 percent in 2016, more than 4 percentage points higher than the Standard & Poor's 500 index and nearly 15 points above the Bloomberg S&P 500 Health Care Sector Index, which declined.
The contrast could reflect a "say-on-pay" change Ventas made in its long-term compensation program after last year's annual meeting. Shareholder support for the firm's compensation plan fell to 68% from previous levels of 90% and more.
Seeking to base awards on future, not past, performance, it extended measurement periods to three years from one year and eliminated immediate vesting in favor of two- and three-year horizons.
A Ventas spokesman had no immediate comment.
Since January 2000, not long after Carfaro became CEO, Ventas' annual shareholder return has topped 25%, the company said. But over the last 12 months, total shareholder returns, including dividends, has trailed the S&P 500 by 11 percentage points and paralleled the heath care index.
Ventas' 1,300-some holdings are focused on senior housing, and hospital and other medical facilities.
The proxy said Cafaro, 59, steered the firm's $2.6 billion in investment last year, including entry into the life sciences sector, and capital raises totaling more than $2 billion.
"Ventas CEO pay falls, despite strong company performance" originally appeared in Crain's Chicago Business.