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Sunday, June 16, 2024

N.C. Commerce Secretary Sanders scores corporate board work

State Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders, who’s been in her current post since 2021, has become a popular choice for corporate board seats.

Sanders is on track to earn more than $720,000 annually as a director of two Durham-based companies, Fortrea Holdings and Biocryst Pharmaceuticals. Her state salary is about $262,000, according to a database of state employees managed by the News and Observer of Raleigh.

Machelle Sanders

Last week, Fortrea appointed Sanders to its board of directors for an initial one-year term. She will receive compensation, like other new appointees, of “restricted stock units” worth $210,000 as of the date of grant. That’s the amount of stock units that non-employee directors receive annually, along with a $90,000 cash fee, the company’s policy says.

Fortrea was spun off by LabCorp last July. It provides contract research and clinical trials for pharmaceutical companies. Fortrea reported a loss of $3.4 million in 2023, after booking a profit of $192.9 million in the previous year. Its market cap is $2.3 billion.

Separately, Sanders joined the board of BioCryst in February 2022. Her compensation in 2023 was $423,154, which included a mix of fees, RSUs and stock options. The company is still in startup phase, reporting cumulative losses of more than $600 million over the past four years on nominal revenue. Its market cap is $1.3 billion.

Sanders is a former vice president of manufacturing at Biogen where she was the general manager of its plant in Durham. The North Carolina native has more than 30 years experience in the drug industry, having previously worked for Purdue Phamaceuticals and Diosynth-Akzo Nobel, after earning a bachelor’s in biochemistry at N.C. State University and a master’s of health administration at Pfeiffer University.

Gov. Roy Cooper appointed Sanders as Administration Secretary in 2017, then to the Commerce post in 2021.

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