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Executive compensation surges at CNO Financial Group

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CNO Financial Group Inc. had a good year last year. But its CEO and other top brass had an even better one.

The Carmel-based life and health insurer more than doubled CEO Jim Prieur’s compensation, and also gave increases ranging from 44 percent to 89 percent to other top executives, according to CNO’s proxy statement filed Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company, formerly known as Conseco Inc., saw its stock price soar nearly 36 percent last year. And its profits, before factoring in investments, interest and taxes, rose 7 percent.

Prieur pulled in $6.7 million in salary, bonus, stock and perks—up 102 percent from the $3.3 million in compensation he received in 2009.

Chief Financial Officer Ed Bonach saw his pay package surge 89 percent, to $2.9 million.

The leaders of CNO’s two main business units—Bankers Life chief Scott Perry and Washington National boss Steve Stecher—enjoyed pay increases of 44 percent and 46 percent, respectively.

Perry received $2.2 million in pay, stock and perks. Stecher was awarded $1.7 million.

Eric Johnson, who heads up CNO’s investment arm, called 40|86 Advisors, enjoyed a 56-percent boost in compensation, to a total of $2.2 million. CNO’s investments enjoyed a big year in 2010, as the markets continued their recovery.

Whereas the company had realized investment losses of $61 million in 2009, last year, it had realized investment gains of $30 million. Both figures are before accounting for taxes.

In the cases of all five execs, the increases were driven primarily by larger stock awards and larger long-term-incentive compensation, which is a cash bonus based on specific performance measures.

Those measures include earnings per share based on continuing operations of the company, operating earnings before investments, interest and taxes, operating expenses and the value of new business.

Concerning Prieur, the proxy statement says: “Mr. Prieur’s base salary, target incentive, and equity compensation awards for fiscal 2010 were determined in accordance with the compensation philosophy described above, including the policy of targeting our compensation within our ‘competitive market’ as described above. In setting his salary, target incentive and equity compensation, the committee relied on market competitive pay data and the strong belief that the chief executive officer significantly and directly influences our overall performance.”

CNO's stock was down 1.9 percent Tuesday morning, to $7.66 per share.

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  • Silent Story
    Just because you don't hear about it does not meant there aren't layoffs. 80% of the QA jobs are being sent to India and they are laying off in small groups at a time to keep the story out of the news.
  • lipstickonapig
    just shows you when the biz is farmed out to 3rdratecountries, we win big.
  • Hey Ryan...
    Read the article. They lost $61 million before they gained $30 million. I'm no financial genius, but a net $29 million loss hardly seems like time to pop the Champagne. Though increasingly it seems like just that if you're in insurance or banking.
  • How much do they need?
    That $3 million extra for ONE man could have easily been used to add $1 or $2k to every employee to help make up for rising fuel prices and make things easier for the grunts who do the real work. But NOoooooo! The top 1% are totally screwing the rest of us because THEY CAN.
  • How much do they need?
    That $3 million extra for ONE man could have easily been used to add $1 or $2k to every employee to help make up for rising fuel prices and make things easier for the grunts who do the real work. But NOoooooo! The top 1% are totally screwing the rest of us because THEY CAN.
  • Thanks
    I ran a chart from Sept 2006 to the present time and compared the performance of CNO to the S&P 500. Why that date? That is when the current CEO arrived at CNO. The results? The S&P 500 was down a few percent and CNO was down greater than 60%. So yes the shareholders should be thanking a management team for collecting millions while the shareholders lost a bundle.
  • Hold up
    So the "Middle Class" employees that are fortunate enough to be able to have the stock option are above all the "Lower Class" employees? How's that fair? Also, what about their changes in their raise and position salary maxes? If they're making so much money then why did they lower raises and make it harder for management to even give an annual raise? Money will always stay at the top there.
  • Justified
    It doesn't matter where a CEO lives, increased profits and massive increases in stock prices should always be rewarded. There hasn't been a story about layoffs, so the middle class is not - actually - paying the price. The middle class employees with stock options, however, were rewarded with big gains in their portfolios last year. So, I'll speak for the executives mentioned and say, "You're welcome."
    • Not At All Shocking
      The Conseco executive ATM machine keeps on giving, and giving, and giving.......Always has and always will. Its in the corporate culture.
    • Justifiable?
      How can this be possible to give the CEO (who doesn't even live in Indiana)a 102% raise? Just goes to show, the rich get richer while the middle class, blue collar worker pays the price!

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