Compensation dips slightly for WellPoint brass

Compensation fell slightly for WellPoint Inc.’s top executives last year as the company doled out smaller stock awards and bonuses, the company reported Monday night in its annual proxy statement.

Angela Braly, CEO of the Indianapolis-based health insurance giant, received total compensation of nearly $13.3 million, down 1.5 percent from the $13.5 million she made the previous year.

Braly’s salary was unchanged at $1.4 million, but she received an $8 million stock grant, which was nearly 50 percent larger than in 2010. Braly received fewer stock options, however, and her incentive-based bonus of $1.9 million was 32 percent less than in the previous year.

WellPoint’s other top brass also saw their total compensation shrink as the value of their stock-option grants and incentive-based bonus pay shrank.

Chief Financial Officer Wayne DeVeydt received $3.9 million in 2011, or 3.9 percent less than in the previous year.

Ken Goulet, WellPoint’s executive vice president over employer, Medicaid, individual and specialty insurance lines, got $3.7 million, or 1.4 percent less than the previous year.

Lori Beer, executive vice president for enterprise business services, received a big stock grant when she first joined WellPoint’s ranks of top five executives in 2010. But she received a much smaller amount of stock last year. That helped to reduce her pay by 39 percent, to $2.7 million.

And Brian Sassi, who WellPoint dismissed in January for performance reasons, saw his compensation plummet by 45 percent, to $3 million. His bonus pay dropped by 60 percent and his stock grant was nearly cut in half compared with 2010.

The compensation committee of WellPoint’s board of directors lauded its executives for helping to boost WellPoint’s earnings per share in 2011, juicing its health plans’ enrollment by more than 900,000, reducing overhead expenses by nearly $300 million and instituting WellPoint’s first dividend payments.

WellPoint’s overall profit, however, declined by 8 percent, to $2.65 billion, compared with the previous year.

WellPoint’s stock price rose 17 percent in 2011, closing the year at $66.25 per share. But most of its peers did significantly better in the stock market. The stock prices of of Louisville-based Humana Inc., Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group and Hartford-based Aetna Inc. rose, respectively, 52 percent, 40 percent and 38 percent last year.

Company stock was down 14 cents Tuesday morning, to $72.81 per share.

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