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North Carolina Commerce Secretary Sanders Rates Corporate Board’s Work

State Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders, who has held her current position since 2021, has become a popular choice for corporate board positions.

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

Machelle Sanders

Last week, Fortrea appointed Sanders to its board of directors for an initial one-year term. He will be compensated, like other new appointments, in “restricted stock units” valued at $210,000 from the date of grant. That’s the number of stock units non-employee directors receive annually, along with a $90,000 cash fee, according to company policy.

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

Separately, Sanders He joined BioCryst’s board of directors in February 2022. His compensation in 2023 was $423,154, which included a combination of fees, RSUs and stock options. The company is still in the startup phase and reports cumulative losses of more than $600 million over the past four years in nominal revenue. Its market capitalization is $1.3 billion.

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

Governor Roy Cooper appointed Sanders to secretary of administration in 2017 and then to commerce in 2021.