Shannon Thyme Klinger, Moderna Legal Chief Receives $11 Million

Moderna Inc.’s chief legal officer Shannon Thyme Klinger received nearly $11.5 million in total compensation after joining the coronavirus vaccine producer last year from Novartis AG.

Klinger received almost $1 million in cash during 2021 and $10 million in stock and options awards, per a proxy statement filed Wednesday. The cash component included roughly $381,000 in base salary; $344,000 in non-equity incentive plan pay; and a $250,000 bonus.

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Klinger, who left Novartis a year ago this month, was hired by Moderna as of June 1 last year to succeed its former general counsel and corporate secretary, Lori Henderson. Klinger’s equity awards at Moderna will begin vesting on the first anniversary of her employment, according to her offer letter.

Moderna has been busy in recent years recruiting lawyers as its business boomed on the back of its messenger RNA-based vaccine for Covid-19. The 143% gain in Moderna shares last year made it the third-best stock in the S&P 500, Bloomberg News reported. Its shares were down 45% so far this year as of midday Friday.

Klinger, who declined to discuss her pay package, said in an email that Moderna’s in-house legal group has added 25 employees within the past six months.

New Hires

The company is poised to bring on Zoe Philippides to be its chief ethics, compliance, and data privacy officer as of March 21, Klinger said. Philippides, a former chief privacy officer at Amgen Inc., has spent the past year as chief ethics and privacy officer at health insurer Anthem Inc.

Recent hires include chief of staff and head of legal operations Elizabeth Dingess-Hammond; global head of labor and employment legal Jessica Foster; and head of environmental, social, and governance strategy Clara Fernandez de Castro.

Dingess-Hammond and Foster most recently worked at Eli Lilly & Co. and Foundation Medicine Inc., respectively. Fernandez de Castro, who is not a lawyer, came from Novartis, where she was a strategic assistant to the general counsel.

“I look forward to what this team will do to enable Moderna to deliver on the promise of mRNA science to create a new generation of transformative medicines for patients,” Klinger said.

Moderna has also lost some executives, including attorney and head of corporate compliance and global risk officer Kristin Rand. She left Moderna earlier this year to become compliance chief and head of risk for National Resilience Inc., which named its own new legal chief in late 2020 as the startup sought to change the way drugs are manufactured in the U.S. in the pandemic’s aftermath.

Outside Firms

Public records show that Moderna paid $200,000 to Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck after retaining the law firm last year for it to lobby at the federal level on issues related to international vaccine deployment, vaccine technologies, drug development, and mRNA drug discovery.

Goodwin Procter, which helped take Moderna public back in 2018, has been a longtime legal adviser to the company. Henderson, the company’s former legal chief, was once an associate at the firm, which also previously employed counsel Shaun Ryan, now a deputy general counsel at Moderna.

Henderson sold off nearly $19.4 million in Moderna stock prior to her retirement from the company last year, securities filings show. She still owns Moderna stock currently valued at more than $128,000, according to Bloomberg data.

Moderna announced in late 2020 that Henderson would retire after joining the Cambridge, Mass.-based company two years earlier.

Moderna was founded in 2010 and went public in December 2018. The company has required that its U.S. workers receive a Covid-19 vaccine.

Novartis, the Swiss drug giant that Klinger left to join Moderna, tapped former AbbVie Inc. deputy general counsel Karen Hale to replace her as its top lawyer.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at; John Hughes at

Leona Zoey

Leona Zoey writes about the Law, Innovation and Technology.