After being charged with assault and trespassing stemming from an alleged incident with the husband of one of its employees, Highmark CEO Kenneth Melani was terminated from his post as chief executive.
The Pittsburgh-based licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association confirmed on Sunday that its board had terminated Melani “for cause." A police affidavit noted the charges stemmed from an incident in which he allegedly fought with the husband of a woman with whom he was having an affair. The woman was a Highmark employee, the affidavit said.
Melani, who also held the title of president, served in his position for nine years, reportedly earning $4 million per year. He had been placed on unpaid administrative leave last Thursday, the day he was arraigned.
The leadership shakeup happens at a difficult time, notes the Wall Street Journal, as Highmark is seeking to acquire West Penn Allegheny Health System for as much as $475 million in grants and loans.
In its statement, Highmark said it was moving forward to identify a successor to Melani. The company's board chairman, J. Robert Baum, is serving as acting CEO. Baum said in the statement Sunday that the board "has reviewed this situation thoroughly and has taken decisive action to address the matter," and Highmark has "served this community with integrity and is committed to maintaining the highest standards."
Melani's lawyer, Robert G. Del Greco Jr., was quoted as saying Melani was "deeply disappointed and upset" by the decision, and "we will be reviewing the legal propriety of Dr. Melani's dismissal and will act accordingly."
In other news, Aon Corp. confirmed that Andrew McKenna, has stepped down from his position on the board after serving for 40 years. McKenna is reportedly in his early 80s and has been a director at Aon as well as at its predecessors, Ryan Insurance Group, since 1970. He is also chief executive of Schwarz Supply Source, a printer and distributor of packaging and promotional materials, and serves as a nonexecutive chairman of McDonald's Corp.
As one of three board directors who abstained from voting over the company's planned move to London, McKenna informed Aon of his decision last Monday. The resignation is effective as of Friday.
According to an Aon proxy from February, McKenna was one of three board members who abstained from voting on a planned reorganization that will result in Aon reincorporating in London. The firm said the move is designed to provide greater access to emerging markets and closer proximity to the Lloyd's of London insurance market.
The decision to resign, according to an Aon regulatory filing late Friday, "was not due to any disagreements with the company on any matter relating to the company's operations, policies or practices."
Chicago is to continue as the company's headquarters for the Americas, said the company.
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