UnitedHealth's Stephen Hemsley takes huge pay cut, makes only $20 million


A tough year for Stephen Hemsley is a lot more than almost everyone else will make in their whole lifetime.

Even the oligarchs sometimes struggle. Just ask UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley.

Last year, the middleman business' biggest middleman suffered a 70 percent pay cut.

Last year, Helmsley's pay amounted to a meager $21 million. It was a far cry from his take the year before, when he pulled in a whopping $66 million.   

Hemsley's annual salary of $1.35 million has remained unchanged since 2006. But last year's haul also included almost $4 million in incentive pay and $15 million in exercised stock options.

The latter's where his pay cut comes in. In 2014, he cashed in almost $61 million in stock, which is where he makes the real money.

Hemsley scored about 104,000 new stock options last year. UnitedHealth currently trades at around $133 per share. Which means he was given a tidy $13.8 million to play with at a later date.      

Hemsley first joined UnitedHealth in 1997. He became CEO nine years later. In 2010, he was reported to be the country's highest paid executive, pocketing almost $102 million. 

To put Hemsley's CEO largesse into perspective, consider: Prince's fortune has been estimated to be as much as $300 million, amassed over nearly 40 years.

In one decade, UnitedHealth, a company that produces nothing but paper, headaches, and heartbreak, has paid its leader about the same.

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