Former Blue Cross CEO got $8.6m last year
Cleve L. Killingsworth, who abruptly resigned last March as chief executive of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, received $8.6 million in compensation last year from the state's largest health insurance company, including $1.4 million in severance pay.
The pay package was detailed in a Blue Cross filing this morning with the Massachusetts Division of Insurance. In a separate statement, the insurer's former chairman indicated for the first time that the terms of Killingsworth's departure had been negotiated.
Killingsworth drew a salary of $273,040 for his two and a half months at the Boston-based insurer last year, a $922,480 bonus for his work in 2009, and $7.4 million in additional compensation, including severance and retirement pay that had been accrued over his six years at Blue Cross. He was chief executive for nearly five years. (Killingsworth is shown at right in a Globe file photo.)
Less than half of Killingsworth's severance was paid out in 2010. He will also receive $1.8 million this year and $925,000 in 2012, bringing his total severance over $4 million, according to the insurance carrier.
In a statement, Paul Guzzi, the former chairman and current member of the board of directors of Blue Cross Blue Shield, reiterated that Killingsworth's unexpected departure last winter came after discussions with the board about the direction of the company.
"He agreed to resign on the condition that he would receive the same severance benefits that were called for if he were terminated under his employment contract," Guzzi said. "The board agreed to proceed on that basis. Cleve's severance and retirement benefits were negotiated as part of the employment contract signed in 2005 when Cleve became CEO."
Killingsworth, reached at his current home in upstate New York, declined to discuss his compensation package, his severance, or the circumstances of his departure. "The payment I got was consistent with my contract, no more, no less," he said.
He said he is currently serving on the boards of a half dozen companies and universities and writing about health care issues, including the need for reforms in how doctors and hospitals are paid.