UnitedHealth Group Inc., CEO

Total compensation: $52,098,104 for the year ended Dec. 31, 2019

Salary: $1,384,615

Nonequity incentive pay: $4,500,000

Other compensation: $201,993

Exercised stock options: $27,201,316

Value realized on vesting shares: $18,810,180

New stock options: 68,406

CEO pay ratio: 348-1

Median employee pay: $54,322

Total 2019 shareholder return: 20%

Note: Wichmann and former executive chairman, Stephen Hemsley, each realized more than $50 million in compensation for 2019.

Both executives benefited from long-term equity awards that were granted in previous years. Wichmann was named CEO in 2017, after joining UnitedHealth in 1998 and holding senior executive roles since 2004. Combined, Wichmann and Hemsley exercised $57 million worth of stock options and realized $39 million from restricted stock that vested.

Wichmann's total realized compensation increased from $21.5 million in 2018. Most of the gain was from options he exercised in 2019 that were granted in 2009 and nearing expiration. Hemsley's realized compensation of $51.8 million decreased 21% from the previous year. Hemsley exercised options that were awarded in 2010 and were also nearing expiration.

Wichmann earned a smaller nonequity incentive award for the year. UnitedHealth's annual financial bonus is based on total revenue, operating income and cash flow metrics, plus a blend of stewardship measures that include a net promoter score, employee engagement and employee teamwork.

The company exceeded the targeted goal for two of three financial targets, but it was at the threshold or below threshold for two of the three stewardship goals related to employee engagement and teamwork.

While some executives have taken salary cuts or deferrals since the economic downturn related to COVID-19, UnitedHealth executives have not. UnitedHealth has not laid off or furloughed employees and instead raised pay for some employees in high-impact areas. The company also said in its proxy that it is extending COVID-19-related health benefits to employees who contract the virus, sent 90% of its nonclinic employees to work from home and instituted more than 80 processes and protocols to assist and protect its care delivery employees.

Patrick Kennedy