McGuire settlement not seen as surprisingby Annie Baxter, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis — Former UnitedHealth chief William McGuire will give back more than $400 million in tainted stock options.
McGuire settled claims that he boosted the value of his stock options by doing something no other stock buyer gets to do - look back in time and pick favorable prices for his shares.
Combined with a previously announced repricing of his stock options that cost him $200 million, McGuire will give up more than $600 million of the wealth he accumulated running the Minnetonka-based insurer for 15 years.
Steve Parente is a Finance Professor and Director of the Medical Industry Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota.
He says the settlement reached with McGuire is not surprising.
"As far as being someone who's being made an example of, that's a pretty clear signal. But at the same time, I think it's not that extraordinary," says Parente. "I think it was actually a pretty fair settlement. It's a lot of money, but there's still a lot of money that's still left in play."
McGuire walks away with about $800 million in unexercised stock options. Some observers say that's a fair deal, given McGuire's celebrated stewardship of UnitedHealth.