Conseco execs see smaller pay packages-WEB ONLY

Conseco Inc. executives took hits to their pay packages last year as the Carmel-based company’s stock price plunged 59 percent.

CEO Jim Prieur took home 18-percent less in total 2008 compensation than in 2007, according to Conseco’s preliminary proxy filed yesterday. Prieur earned no performance bonus last year, but still received nearly $2.2 million in salary, stock awards and perks.

Conseco Chief Financial Officer Ed Bonach and chief investment officer Eric Johnson did earn bonuses, but their overall pay still fell.

Bonach’s 2008 compensation dropped 8.5 percent compared with the previous year, to $1.1 million.

Johnson’s pay plummeted 40 percent, to $763,000.

Conseco struggled last year to deal with its money-losing long-term-care policies, a faltering economy and mounting investment losses. The combination almost forced the company to default on its bank loans.

But Conseco cleared that hurdle last month, and its share price is on the rise again. The sales and profit performance of Conseco’s insurance subsidiaries improved throughout 2008.

Conseco shares rose 15 cents this morning, to $1.35 each.

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