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Former Highmark CEO made nearly $10 million in 2014, tax records show

Ben Schmitt
| Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, 3:11 p.m.
In this file photo, Highmark CEO William Winkenwerder Jr. talks to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporters and editors on Tuesday, June 5, 2012.
Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
In this file photo, Highmark CEO William Winkenwerder Jr. talks to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporters and editors on Tuesday, June 5, 2012.
William Winkenwerder - Highmark Health (2013, since resigned), $4.5 million
William Winkenwerder - Highmark Health (2013, since resigned), $4.5 million

Highmark Health paid former CEO William Winkenwerder $9.8 million in 2014, more than twice his compensation from the previous year.

Winkenwerder, who worked at Highmark for less than two years and left in May 2014, received total compensation of $4.5 million in 2013, according to Highmark Health tax returns. Highmark, the state's largest health insurer, released his earnings Friday along with those of the company's highest paid executives.

Winkenwerder's pay exceeded that of UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff, who received $6.4 million in 2013, according to the health giant's most recent filings.

Winkenwerder declined to comment. His LinkedIn profile indicates he started a consulting firm, Winkenwerder Strategies, in 2014. The firm, based in Locust Valley, N.Y., provides consulting for the health care industry.

Winkenwerder's $9.79 million in compensation included base salary of $574,160 plus bonus and incentive compensation of $6.15 million and $2.38 million in retirement and other deferred compensation, according to tax returns. Highmark spokeswoman Lynn Seay declined to comment on the details of Winkenwerder's compensation.

Stephen Foreman, an associate professor of health administration and economics at Robert Morris University, said it's not uncommon for an employer to pay high-ranking executives two years' salaries as part of an early buyout.

“But for a Pittsburgh nonprofit, it's pretty rich,” he said. “I want Winkenwerder negotiating for me.”

Winkenwerder's successor, David Holmberg, was promoted in May 2014 and had been president of Highmark's diversified businesses and CEO of the insurer's HVHC Inc. subsidiary. Holmberg's combined salary for both jobs in 2014 was $3.2 million, including $1.2 million as Highmark president and CEO and $2 million in his prior position.

Winkenwerder, a former assistant secretary in the Department of Defense and an insurance executive, joined Highmark in July 2012 and was viewed as a steadying influence for an organization reeling from a salacious scandal involving its previous CEO, Ken Melani. At the time, Highmark faced uncertainty over its decision to acquire the former West Penn Allegheny Health System and was engaged in a bitter contract fight with rival UPMC.

Other 2014 Highmark salaries included:

• Nanette Deturk, former treasurer, received $3.31 million in total compensation. She was succeeded by Karen Hanlon as treasurer.

• Thomas VanKirk, secretary, received $1.8 million in total compensation.

• Daniel Onorato, executive vice president, public policy, chief government relations and community affairs, received $1 million.

• Ray Hunter Carson Jr., executive vice president and chief human resources officer, received $2.7 million.

• Jayanth Godla, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, received $1.32 million.

Highmark listed expenses of about $1 million for legal work and $888,000 for advertising and promotion.

Allegheny Health Network revealed in separate tax returns that its CEO and president, John Paul, received $2 million in 2014, up from $1.8 million the previous year.

Other AHN salaries included:

• Alex Sciulli, former senior vice president of real estate, received $1.76 million in total compensation.

• Tony Farah, chief medical officer and president of Allegheny Clinic, had total compensation of $1.15 million.

• Patricia Liebman, chief operating officer, received $1.2 million in total compensation.

• Judy Hlafcsak, former legal officer, made $1.06 million in total compensation.

Ben Schmitt is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7991 or

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