WellPoint CEO lands nearly $17M in first year

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WellPoint Inc. CEO Joe Swedish enjoyed nearly $17 million in cash, stock and perks in his first year leading the Indianapolis-based health insurance giant, according to a securities filing the company made Tuesday afternoon.

Swedish received salary last year of $913,461, a grant of company stock valued at $7.9 million, stock options valued at $1.6 million, a performance-based cash bonus of $2.51 million, and various perks valued at nearly $4.1 million.

The perks included nearly $3.8 million for compensation Swedish would have received in his previous job, as CEO of Michigan-based hospital system Trinity Health, and nearly $79,000 in relocation expenses.

WellPoint even paid Swedish nearly $82,000 to reimburse the legal fees he incurred when negotiating his employment contract with WellPoint.

Swedish, 62, took the helm of WellPoint on March 25, 2013, and oversaw a big run-up in the company’s stock price. WellPoint shares gained more than 44 percent from the day before Swedish arrived to the end of 2013, closing the year at $92.03 apiece. They since have risen to about $98 per share.

That stock performance contributed to a decision by WellPoint’s board of directors to give its executives stock grants valued 30 percent higher than the performance-based targets set at the beginning of the year. And Swedish received a performance-based cash bonus valued more than 72 percent higher than the target the board established for him.

"More than 80 percent of the overall compensation for executive officers is impacted by company performance, including performance relative to company goals and financial metrics, and changes in the company’s stock price," WellPoint spokeswoman Kirstin Binns wrote in an email. "2013 was a strong year for the company, with increases in net income, adjusted net income per share and total operating revenue."

Binns noted that WellPoint's operating revenue rose 16 percent to $70.2 billion from $60.5 billion in 2012, mainly due to the company's 2012 acquisition of Virginia-based Amerigroup Corp. WellPoint's profit, excluding extraordinary items, rose 5 percent last year to $2.59 billion.

Wayne DeVeydt, WellPoint’s chief financial officer, received total 2013 compensation of more than $7.9 million, an 80-percent increase over his compensation in 2012. WellPoint gave DeVeydt an extra $3 million in company stock, compared with the previous year, and nearly doubled his performance-based cash bonus to $1.1 million.

Ken Goulet, executive vice president overseeing WellPoint’s commercial and specialty businesses, saw his total compensation rise 8 percent to nearly $4.8 million.


  • Pros & Professionals
    Think if it in this way. Professioanl atheletes are paid millions of dollars to play a game that does not affect the lives of millions of people. The leadership of these Executives has the potential to impact the lives of millions of people every year. They work very hard and carry the burden of leading huge organizations. This is not to say that others do not work hard. There are millions of very hard working folks out there, some of which probably deserve better pay than what they are getting. However the average person working in America cannot comprehend the responsibility these leaders are accountable for each day. We dont judge someone working hard and only making minimum wage. We encourage them to learn new skills so they are able to move up and be able to support themselves and their families. So dont judge those who have done that and are being compensated for the level of leadership they are now accountable for. They worked hard to get to where they are. Research their lives and see what some of their first jobs were. You may be surprised. I'm not a leader and do not aspire to be a leader at this level.
  • Capitalism???
    um, sorry but we don't live in a country w/ capitalism. we live in a country of GREED!! corporations have been ripping off and destroying the country for decades. a free market is a fair market, this is rigged.
  • Poor delusional CC
    Concerned citizen...there's a difference between capitalism (which I support, btw) and greed. What we have now is greed. I am sure Bernie Madoff was paid well. Based on your posts, you'd defend that as well. Yet he turned out to be the biggest crook in US corporate history. No one is worth that...and, like I said, if WP has all this money to throw around they should uincrease reimbursement rates and/or coverage. BTW, many can't just "switch" insurers if that's the plan their employers offer. Agree to disagree, but your poor grammar and personal attacks make you look less than credible.
  • Collusion
    Concerned Citizen, its called collusion. Major companies have decided to pay executives more than their worth and some employees less than their worth. As most companies are doing this, boycott is not a solution. But you probably know that, as it seems you are grasping at straws trying to defend this. Just because something happens regularly in business does not make it OK, even if you slap the capitalism label on it.
  • Hooray!
    I'm so happy to read about my company doing well. It makes the 10 hour day I just worked (at a measly hourly rate that is barely above the poverty level), just so these guys can rake in MILLIONS of dollars SO worth it!
  • $81,000 contract lawyer
    Ah, I remember hiring a lawyer to negotiate the contract with my employer. No wait, that kind of stuff doesn't happen for regular people. Silly me, thinking that CEOs are regular people. As opposed to the new rules in the Feudal system.
  • Your worth is what the market will pay you
    Moose, It is interesting that you chose to classify my comment as being about your ignorance. While I did not use this term it certainly conveys your commentary quite well. Ironically, you turned around and made the same mistake in your response and criticized the salary of prior Anthem leaders. The gist of it is you are worth whatever the market will pay you. If you are a stockholder of Anthem or a consumer buying Anthem products then you certainly have the right to espouse your dissatisfaction by selling your stock or leaving the company or writing letters. But you have no right to judge right or wrong the worth of other people any more than I do (though I have some thoughts on your worth). Regarding your English commentary, I appreciate the correction and concur your whining is an empty gesture and you should convert your empty gestures to action by boycotting Anthem and any events, hospitals, sports teams, etc. supported by a company that so violates your sense of fairness. Have a nice day!
  • It's All Relative
    Dear Mr. "Concerned Citizen" I think I understand capitalism, but this particular company has a long history of overpaying its CEO, from Larry Glasscock through Angela Braley, who left with millions of dollars as she was terminated for poor performance. Is the short time CEO of this company really worth more than the CEO of Lilly, Cummins, or even Citizen's Energy? I say no, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Oh, and before you shoot off another email and "wine" about my ignorance, you might want to brush up on your English language skills.
  • Cap on overhead
    Though one might care to bicker with what is a fair and reasonable amount for compensation, it has virtually no impact on your premium. The Affordable Care Act applies a minimum percentage of premiums that must go to the payment of claims. It's called the Minimum Medical Loss Ratio and it's 80% for small groups and 85% for large groups. Thus, carriers are only allowed to spend 15-20% for the entirely of their overhead and profit, such as rent, IT, and everyone's salary, including the CEO.
  • Consumer Advocacy
    Chip and Mouse, you are the epitome of what is wrong with this country. People like you do not understand the capitalism and the market. If you do not like something change it with your pocketbook. Don't buy health insurance from Anthem or their many subsidiaries, don't buy cars from GM because they set people on fire, don't buy Colt's tickets because there stadium is partially subsidized by tax payers. Instead you wine and complain about the good fortune of others. Your comments are obscene! Who among us as the right to tell others what they are worth?
    • The Big Picture
      A CEO must be able to carry a heavy load when he or she takes that position. It's true in any business. A company's success in any given year, and for that matter, their net worth depend, in part to vision, mission, strategies, tactics, and communication. Praising or denouncing large salaries and/or incentives and perks should be taken in context with one's contribution and a peek at common sense. Success always raises the demand for higher salaries. It's the way of capitalism. I find no fault with that. I think, however, that success should be a shared responsibility. After all, the customer is the originator of the funds, management and other employees are the engine, and the community a supportive force.
    • Obscene Indeed
      A slap in the face to all who pay for health insurance. Mr. Swedish and the Board should be ashamed of this excessive salary that is accompanied by health insurance costs that increase by double digits every year. Pure greed!
    • Ridic
      This exemplifies all that is wrong with this country...no one, and I mean NO ONE, is worth that. If Wellpoint has all this money to throw around, perhaps it should expand coverage of reimbursement rates instead. Obscene.

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