Get the latest news alerts: at Twitter.

Local Tech Wire

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Andrew Witty, chief executive officer at (NYSE: GSK), earned more than $12 million in 2009, according to the Times of London.

The newspaper noted the compensation included a salary of $4.7 million and another $7.5 million in stop options.

That total is 76 percent more than Witty made the previous year, according to the Times.

Witty has been in the job for two years, having replaced J.P. Garnier.

The news comes just days after the world’s second largest pharmaceutical firm announced plans to lay off some 4,000 workers. GSK also is in a battle with the U.S. Senate over the diabetes drug Avandia and recently announced plans to built a new facility in the U.K. that will employ 1,000 people.

GSK bases its U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park and employs some 4,000 people in the area.

A major institutional investor told the Times that the company “devoted a lot of time consulting with shareholders. I don’t think this is going to cause major concerns.”

The unnamed investor described Witty as a “new-broom chief executive. I think he has shareholders support.”

Witty has been aggressively reshaping GSK since taking over as CEO. Among his major changes is a shift to more reliance on drug development partnerships while scaling back on research and development.

Part of Witty’s compensation is based on what the Times described as a “performance share plan” instead of standard options.

“The aim is to discourage risk-taking and help to drive long-term returns for shareholders,” a spokesperson told the newspaper.