News & Events

Blue Cross paid ex-CEO $8.6M last year

By Christine McConville
Tuesday, March 1, 2011 –

Former Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts boss Cleve L. Killingsworth received $8.6 million in compensation last year from the 2.9-million member health insurer.

And over the next two years, he’ll receive an additional $2.7 million in severance pay.

Killingsworth left his post last March after Blue Cross reported staggering losses, and as the state began cracking down on health insurers for hefty hikes in people’s insurance premiums.

Killingsworth’s departure package is detailed in a filing that Blue Cross submitted today to the Massachusetts Division of Insurance.

Killingsworth was the firm’s top executive for five years, and Blue Cross spokesman Jay McQuaide said that some 70 percent of his $8.6 million compensation for 2010 is retirement benefits.

McQuaide said Killingsworth’s compensation “was part of a binding employment contract that the board agreed to in 2005. “It was a very different time,” he added. “Three of the five years that Cleve was CEO were the best years that Blue Cross had. Membership grew under Cleve, and there’s little argument that without Cleve’s leadership and passion on payment reform, we would not be where we are today.”

Blue Cross director Paul Guzzi said in a statement that “the Board understands and is sensitive to the community’s interest and concern about executive compensation.”

Guzzi, a former state secretary who now runs the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and ran the board during parts of Killingsworth’s tenure, said Killingsworth “chose to resign his position following discussions with the Board about the direction of the company,” but did so on the conditions that he receive his previously negotiated pay package.

Killingsworth is now spending his time “traveling, writing and speaking.”


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