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Company news

April 11, 2011

After resisting several shareholder proposals for an advisory vote about executive compensation, WellPoint Inc. will now give its investors a “say on pay” vote every year. All publicly traded companies have to allow “say on pay” votes every two or three years under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation passed by Congress last year. WellPoint shareholders last year approved an advisory vote, which is part of the reason WellPoint’s board now plans to hold one annually, according to company spokesman Tony Felts. In its proxy statement filed April 1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, WellPoint added that if there is a “significant vote” against the pay of the company’s top five executives, the board will “consider our shareholders’ concerns and the Compensation Committee will evaluate whether any actions are necessary to address those concerns.” WellPoint CEO Angela Braly’s total compensation rose 3 percent last year to $13.4 million, as WellPoint’s operating and stock performance improved despite enrollment that continued to decline in the face of high unemployment. Braly's annual salary remained flat at $1.1 million, but her performance-based bonus rose more than 80 percent to $2.7 million. A WellPoint spokeswoman told the Associated Press in March that the company's pay formula rewards executives for improving enrollee health, boosting share prices and meeting other goals.

Marian University will delay the opening of its college of osteopathic medicine until fall of 2013—one year later than originally planned. Officials at the small Catholic institution in Indianapolis said its original timeline proved too “aggressive.” The main setback came in December, when the accrediting commission of the American Osteopathic Association requested that Marian put the money it has raised to fund the school in a different kind of escrow fund format. That delayed the accreditation process until the commission's next meeting, which is in April. Marian must obtain at least provisional accreditation before it can begin recruiting students—so it decided to wait another year to make sure it gets the best students it can. The decision to wait an extra year was made by Marian trustees in March, according to an e-mail sent by Marian President Dan Elsener and obtained by IBJ. Marian has raised $81 million toward the $100 million project, which includes constructing a building to house both the medical school and Marian’s existing nursing school. Marian also will need money to buy the necessary technological equipment, fund student scholarships and endowed chairs for some professors. Marian announced plans for the school in January 2010 after receiving a $30 million gift from an anonymous donor and being chosen by the Indiana Osteopathic Association, which had long wanted to start a medical school in Indianapolis. Even at that time, Elsener said the opening might slip by a year, to 2013.

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