Thursday, June 21, 2012
Jehlen: Budget Amendment Would Reign in High Pay for Mutual Execs

Count State Senator Patricia Jehlen among those surprised by recent stories revealing that retiring Liberty Mutual CEO Ted Kelly was paid $200 million in the past 4 years.

Jehlen, D-Somerville/Medford, worked with Senators Brian Joyce and Mark Montigny to pass a budget amendment in the senate that would require mutual companies to follow the same rules on transparency, accountability and conflict-free boards -- which approve the salaries of CEOs -- as publicly traded corporations.

"I found it amazing that Kelly was paid more in an hour and a quarter than the security officers in his building make in a year, and more than all the presidents of the United States combined," Jehlen said. "I hope this sensible and moderate consumer and taxpayer protection provision is adopted in the final budget. Just the publicity about executive pay may lead to more responsible behavior."

The amendment would require that mutual insurance companies make public the pay of their top executives, that their compensation committees are free of conflict of interest and their boards have a majority of directors without such conflict, and that the owners of mutual holding companies hold a non-binding vote on executive pay every three years.