Outgoing UHS chief made almost 50% less in 2020

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Universal Health Services’ outgoing CEO made a lot less money in his final year at the helm of the company he founded more than four decades ago.

Alan Miller, who transitioned to the executive chairman role at the beginning of 2021, wasn’t alone. All five of the top executives listed in the King of Prussia, Pa.-based acute-care and behavioral health chain’s proxy statement made less money in 2020. That was mostly because their stock options were worth less, but also because the investor-owned company scrapped incentive pay amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Miller’s total compensation was $13.2 million in 2020, down 46% from the prior year, when he made almost $24.5 million. More than $9 million of that decline was because Miller’s stock options weren’t worth as much as they were in 2019. UHS stock lost 4.2% of its value over the course of 2020, closing at $135.93 on Dec. 30, 2020.

Miller’s cash incentive pay had hovered around $1.5 million in 2018 and 2019, so the absence of that was another contributor. His base pay dropped from $1.7 million to $1.4 million.

A UHS spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

“Although the company was resilient during 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its material unfavorable impact on our results of operations, no cash incentive bonuses were paid to any of our named executive officers pursuant to the executive incentive plan for the year ended December 31, 2020,” UHS wrote in its proxy filing.

UHS’ new CEO is Alan Miller’s son, Marc Miller. His total compensation was $2.3 million in 2020, down 47% from the prior year. Like the elder Miller, Marc Miller’s lower compensation was because of the lower value of his stock awards and a lack of incentive pay.

Steve Filton, the company’s longtime chief financial officer, also made less money last year because of stock option value and incentive pay. He made $1.7 million in total compensation.

The president of UHS’ acute care division, Marvin Pember, made $1.8 million in total compensation, down 76% from 2019. Matthew Peterson, president of UHS’ behavioral health division, made $1.5 million, down 20% from the prior year.

Despite taking salary cuts, top executives at fellow for-profit chain Community Health Systems made more money in 2020 because of higher incentive pay. Wayne Smith, then-CEO of the Franklin, Tenn.-based company, made $9.1 million last year. UHS and CHS are closely matched with respect to revenue, having generated $11.6 billion and $11.8 billion in 2020, respectively.

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