Welp, David Wichmann, CEO of the Minnetonka-based health insurance giant UnitedHealth Group, made upwards of $52 million last year.
That’s a significant increase from the year before, when he made $21.5 million. The company attributed the bump to stock options granted to him in 2009. They had been near expiration, and he’d exercised them in 2019. His base salary, according to the company’s latest proxy report, is a relatively modest $1.4 million.
This news comes at a time, as the Star Tribune pointed out, when some executives (among them the CEOs of Marriott and Disney) have taken salary cuts or deferrals amid the economic downturn caused by COVID-19—a move, Forbes has said, that could be interpreted as either a genuine desire to help out or “a shrewd public relations ploy.”
Wichmann and other UnitedHealth executives have not. A spokesperson with UnitedHealth Group declined to comment outside what information was publicly available.
The proxy report was quick to list the measures UnitedHealth is taking to respond to coronavirus. Its workforce, it says, is receiving “full wages,” including added compensation for frontline workers in “high incidence communities.” Nobody, according to the Tribune, has been laid off or furloughed.
It also accelerated nearly $2 billion to care providers, which are seeing an influx of sick patients with expensive, specialized needs, and are not especially liquid at the moment.
Back when his compensation was just $21.5 million, Wichmann was still one of the state’s top-earning CEOs. The median level of compensation, according to the Tribune, was around $57,000 at the time, putting that worker and Wichmann at a pay ratio of 316:1.
Among other things, Wichmann has been known for his vocal disapproval of Medicare for All, which he claimed would "destabilize the nation's health system" in a conference call with investors last year.
As far as this year’s profits go, while plenty of other businesses have hard roads ahead, UnitedHealth is sticking with its 2020 forecast. Even as the surrounding market has floundered, the Tribune reports, its first-quarter results have been trouncing Wall Street expectations.