United Healthcare CEO’s “Below Average” Compensation

If you’d bought $1,000 of stock in United Healthcare a decade ago, and held on through the ensuing roller coaster, you’d have $6,400 today.


But not nearly as nice as CEO Stephen Hemsley made out.

According to yesterday’s Star Tribune:

UnitedHealth Group Inc. CEO Stephen Hemsley took home $48.8 million in total compensation last year, or about half as much as he took home in 2009, according to the company’s proxy statement filed Wednesday.

–“United’s Hemsley took home $48.8M“; Star Tribune (4/13/2011)

If you need help with the math, $48.8 million — let’s call it a round $50 million —  would be half of  . . . $100 million.

So, Hemsley’s total haul the last 2 years comes to an eye-popping $150 million.

But, that’s not even the really . . . uh, rich part.

That would be the following:

An external pay analysis done for the company showed that Hemsley’s compensation for 2010 was below the median level for CEOs in UnitedHealth’s peer group. The compensation committee and Hemsley agree that his compensation plan “is sufficient to motivate and retain him,” according to the proxy.

Star Tribune

“Sufficient to motivate and retain Hemsley??”

I should say so.

Just two questions:  1) who selected the “external pay analyst?”; and 2) have they ever reported, to any client, that its senior managers were overpaid?

Nah, I didn’t think so (can you say, “not biting the [very rich] hand that feeds you?”).

P.S.: You’ll recall that Mr. Hemsley’s predecessor, William McGuire, also famously backed up the stock options  truck oil tanker.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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