Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota president and CEO Mike Unhjem's employment was terminated Monday, March 9, per the terms of his employment agreement. The employment agreement was drafted in 2007 as a result of board action following Unhjem's arrest for driving under the influence in 2006. The contract, between Unhjem and BCBSND, was drafted by the BCBSND Board of Directors, Human Resources and outside counsel.
Unhjem displayed errors in judgment over the past couple of years that damaged the image of BCBSND, and the board dismissed him because he violated terms of his employment agreement. However, Unhjem met and exceeded company operational goals as related to customer satisfaction, administrative efficiencies and contract gains during his 18 years as president and CEO.
BCBSND just received clearance to release the details of Unhjem's severance package as outlined in his employment agreement. The total value of the severance package is $2.2 million and will be paid in one lump sum, of which $1.43 million is allocated to BCBSND and the remaining $770,000 is allocated to other business entities.
The payout is based on two years of salary, pay-at-risk (PAR),* and health, dental and vision benefits. Unhjem's BCBSND 2008 compensation was $706,344. In addition, Unhjem earned $372,215 because of his responsibilities to the other lines of business, for a total 2008 compensation of $1,078,559.