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CEO payout blocked in options suit

December 01, 2006|From Bloomberg News

William McGuire was blocked from exercising stock options acquired as chief executive of UnitedHealth Group Inc. and won't be able to draw his retirement pay until a lawsuit over the options is resolved.

McGuire, who left the company Thursday, consented to a federal court order freezing those payments, his lawyer, David Brodsky, confirmed. On Oct. 15, McGuire agreed to step down after an independent inquiry found evidence that UnitedHealth options were backdated during the last 12 years.

"Dr. McGuire's employment has ended, and he has separated from the company," the company said. "There is no separation agreement."

Options held by McGuire, 59, were once worth as much as $1.6 billion. The company, which is based in Minnetonka, Minn., reported in November that it would reduce the value of options granted to McGuire and Stephen Hemsley, who replaces McGuire as chief executive today. Both also agreed to have the dates of their options reset.

U.S. District Judge James Rosenbaum of Minneapolis issued the order, dated Wednesday, in a shareholder lawsuit.

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