Put McGuire's academic gown on hold

  • Article by: LORI STURDEVANT
  • Updated: September 15, 2008 - 3:46 PM

Former UnitedHealth Group CEO William McGuire apparently won't be prepping for class lectures at the University of MInnesota anytime soon. Word last week that he was being considered for "executive in residence" status at the Carlson School of Management was countered Monday by a denial from the university. 

The university statement, from spokesman Daniel Wolter, said that McGuire "was working with a leading faculty member in the Carlson School on an academic paper. There were no discussions of his joining the university in any other capacity."

A spokesman for McGuire, Bob Chlopak, said that any discussion of a permanent role at the Carlson School "was a surprise" to McGuire.

Whether it was sent aloft intentionally or unintentionally by the Carlson School, the McGuire trial balloon dropped like a stone -- and for good reason.  McGuire is not yet out of the ethical and legal thicket that the alleged backdating of stock options put him in at UnitedHealth. He has already paid legal judgments and fines of $37 million in the matter, and has relinquished a total of $618 million in options since leaving UnitedHealth in 2006. What he has not done is admitted to any wrongdoing.

His unresolved legal drama should disqualify him, at least for now, from what would be seen as a plum position at the state's flagship university. The day may come when his guest lecture about how not to handle executive compensation would be a hit at a business ethics class, and when he might be able to impart knowledge about health care management without the distraction of his messy departure from UnitedHealth. But that day appears to be a long way off.

 

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