Hold That Thought - U Claims No Intent To Gown McGuire
Put McGuire's academic gown on hold
By Lori Sturdevant
Last update: 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.
And so was the statement, made earlier in the Strib, true, Mr. Wolter?
Stephen Parente, director of the Medical Industry Leadership Institute in the Carlson School of Management, said the school had given him the go-ahead to explore the idea with McGuire, former chief executive of Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group.
There was some discussion within the school, Parente said, on whether it was appropriate to engage McGuire, given the lawsuits and investigations in which he was embroiled. The conclusion was that it was.