Conseco Showed Him the Money

July 11, 2000

When Conseco Inc.’s new chairman and chief executive, Gary C. Wendt, agreed last month to take the reins at the struggling company, it came at a price for the struggling insurer. A really big price.

The New York Times reports Wendt was paid a $45 million signing bonus along with 3.2 million shares of stock now worth $31.2 million, as well as 10 million options. While Wendt will not receive a salary for the first two years he runs Conseco, the Times reports he will get a bonus of no less than $8 million, and as much as $50 million at the end of the two-year period, depending upon stock results.

Wendt, 58, is the former CEO of GE Capital, a unit of General Electric. His contract with the company is for five years, the final three of which will see him making $1 million in salary with a bonus of up to $2.8 million, $1.5 million in stock and annual grants of 500,000 in options.

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