Unum CEO paid $8.7 million last year after company stock and profits rise

Unum CEO paid $8.7 million last year after company stock and profits rise

April 13th, 2017 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Unum CEO Rick McKenney talks Friday, Feb. 3 2017 above Unum's atrium.

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

Scrum master Troy Ivey works at a standing desk at Unum headquarters on Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Unum is adding new open office environments at its headquarters.

Scrum master Troy Ivey works at a standing...

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

In his first full-year as CEO of Chattanooga's biggest corporation, Unum Corp. CEO Rick McKenney was paid a compensation package totaling nearly $8.7 million in salary, bonuses and pensions benefits.

In its annual proxy statement released today in advance of the May 25 annual shareholders meeting, Unum said McKenney met or exceeded most of the corporate targets for last year. Unum earned a record-high profit of $931.4 million in 2016 on more than $11 billion of company revenues.

"Unum has been a very good performer and an excellent long-term investment during one of the most challenging economic periods in memory, with a 9.76 percent compound annual return to shareholders over the last 10 years," the company reported to shareholders in its report today.

In the past year, Unum's total shareholder return of 35.1 percent was 62 percent better than its industry peers and more than triple the returns for the S&P 500.

McKenney, 48, succeeded Tom Watjen in May 2015 as president and chief executive of Unum. In his last full year as Unum CEO before retiring, Watjen was paid $13.3 million in 2014.

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As chief financial officer for the first four months of 2015 and CEO the second two thirds of that year, McKenney was paid more than $5.7 million in 2015, according to company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

McKenney is forecasting additional growth for Unum in the 3 to 6 percent range this year — perhaps even more if the company does other acquisitions.

With the prospect of higher interest yields on the company's $50 billion investment portfolio and lower corporate taxes from the Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress, Unum is poised for even stronger performance in the future, he said.

"I think we are positioned better now than we have ever been to grow the company," McKenney said in a recent interview.

Unum added dental and vision insurance coverage this year and announced Wednesday it will add stop loss insurance coverage to its portfolio of products next year.