The stock options saga continues at UnitedHealth Group
Unfortunately, UnitedHealth Group has spent too much time on something that shouldn't have happened in the first place. With incoming CEO Stephen Hemsley taking charge today, it seemed that the company would finally move on. The board of directors has strengthened internal controls and brought management compensation packages back from the stratosphere. The board also rectified many of the previous backdated options by re-pricing those options to the highest possible price for each grant year in question. That's why I find it amazing that McGuire himself feels compelled to drag this on.
McGuire must have decided that he wasn't ready to give up his estimated $1.1 billion retirement package, so he became a joint filer requesting the court injunction along with CalPERS. He must be hoping that the SLC report will vindicate his position and that the shareholder lawsuits will be dismissed. I find it ironic that at the same time that McGuire is trying to enrich himself at the expense of shareholders, we get a recent report from the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation saying that the U.S. is losing its competitiveness due to too much regulation.
With the increasing list of CEOs ousted because of options backdating scandals, it seems that the executive officers are the ones losing. It's not surprising that, as reported by Floyd Norris of The New York Times, the Capital Markets report was partially funded by Maurice Greenberg, ex-CEO of AIG
Consider some of what I believe to be excessive executive retirement or severance package grants: Lee Raymonds, ex-CEO of Exxon Mobil
While McGuire's package takes the cake, I hope he gets what he deserves, and that UnitedHealth Group can drop this saga once and for all.
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Fool contributor Matthew Crews welcomes your feedback -- really! He has a financial position in Pfizer, but no financial position in any of the other companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy .