Guzzi or Guzzn’t He?

June 30, 2015

From our Local Dailies DisADvantage desk

After 19 years as president and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Paul Guzzi is stepping down. As a sort of parting gift, he ran this full-page ad in today’s Boston Herald.


Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 9.42.56 AM


Crosstown at the Boston Globe – no ad. Then again, why pay for what the Globe will provide for free. Bottom of today’s Business front:



Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 9.38.55 AM


Top of C2:


Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 9.37.39 AM


Guzzi is moving on the become board chairman at the Citi Performing Arts Center, where he’ll undoubtedly run many more ads in the stately local broadsheet than the thirsty local tabloid.

Regardless, all best to all involved.

Hark! The Herald! (Blue Cross Blue Wield Edition)

March 2, 2013

Say it Whitman: The Boston Herald celebrates itself and sings itself yet again today. And it goes all the way back to yesterday for celebratory material.

Actually, the feisty local tabloid brandishes two – count ’em, two – former front pages in its latest Blue Cross Blue Shield drive-by:

Picture 2


More grist for the mill:

Blue Cross Blue Shield 
of Massachusetts’ newly resurrected and highly controversial payout program for its board of directors includes a $1,500 bonus for any member who shows up at a meeting — and a $500 check just for calling in by phone.

All told, the plan — which the insurer called “modest” — could cost more than $800,000 this year alone. Blue Cross Blue Shield had suspended director pay in March 2011, amid public outcry over an $11 million severance package to a CEO who resigned abruptly after the nonprofit posted a cat astrophic $149 million loss.

“It’s a little shocking that it took two years to come up with a plan to go back to the future,” said state Sen. Mark C. Montigny (D-New Bedford), who has fought against such pay plans for years. “We have decided as a state to allow the delivery of health care, including 
insurance, through a not-for-profit charity. Most people, reasonable people, would say volunteers on the board of a charity should not be compensated.”


Then again, most people aren’t Paul Guzzi, Gloria Larson, Ralph Martin, and the other business-types-as-usual who populate the board.

Regardless, most people do have something to say about it. Start with the Herald’s obligatory YOU react feature:

Picture 3


Except, of course, BC/BS is a non-profit. Not to get technical about it.

In the comments section, reader reactions are less, well, measured.

Picture 4


P.S. The Boston Globe also takes a second look at BC/BS, but from a slightly different angle.

Earnings rose for Blue Cross, not others

The state’s largest health insurer boosted its earnings in 2012, while three other Massachusetts health plans reported net income declines from the previous year as they absorbed a new state assessment to fund initiatives under a cost containment law, according to financial reports filed Friday with state regulators.

Health insurers also released executive compensation figures, with total pay increases ranging from 6.8 percent to 51.4 percent for chief executive officers.


Take that, Herald commenters!


Blue Cross, Blue Yield on Director Pay

March 1, 2013

Under pressure from its high-powered – and for the past two years, uncompensated – board of directors, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has started to pony up to the bigwigs again. Both local dailies give the move Page One play, but the similarities pretty much end there.

Boston Globe front page:

Picture 2



Two years after bowing to its critics and suspending five-figure annual pay for directors, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is reinstating the compensation — though at reduced levels and to fewer board members.

The state’s largest health insurance carrier will pay part-time board members who chair committees a maximum of $54,500. That is down from the $78,60 [sic] before the public outcry over how much directors were paid at nonprofit insurers regulated as public charities. Blue Cross will pay other directors no more than $47,000, down from $58,600 in 2011.

Despite the reductions, Blue Cross board members will remain among the best compensated directors at any nonprofit health plan in the state.

Blue Cross board members attend up to five full board meetings a year, a strategic planning session, and about eight committee meetings, executives said.


That’s a lotta dough for not much show.

Which led the Boston Herald to front-page this:

Picture 3


The story:

bluecross2_0Despite AG’s push, agency’s at it again!

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has quietly resumed paying its part-time, politically wired board of directors tens of thousands of dollars a year, sneaking the cash back into their pockets two years after Attorney General Martha Coakley publicly pushed health care nonprofits to end the outrageous payouts.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield spokesman Jay McQuaide confirmed last night that the board’s 17 members are back on the payroll — the result of a vote they took at a December meeting. McQuaide did not specify their pay but said it has been cut by an average of 25 percent. Directors were previously paid from $60,000 to $90,000 a year.


Pretty different top number from the Globe’s, but why get technical about it.

The Herald also drops different – and better – names than the Globe, which lists the new directors and ex-directors. The Herald has all the usual suspects:

The Blue Cross board’s 17-member roster is packed with powerbrokers from just about every arena in the state. Among them, Blue Cross CEO Andrew Dreyfus, chairman William Van Faasen, Massachusetts AFL-CIO vice president George R. Alcott III, Massachusetts Teachers Association President Paul Toner, former Massachusetts Democratic Party chairman Philip Johnston, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce chief Paul Guzzi, Bentley University president Gloria Larson, Simmons College president Helen G. Drinan, former Suffolk District Attorney and current Northeastern University general counsel Ralph C. Martin and Benaree Wiley, former head of The Partnership.


Finally, no surprise, the feisty local tabloid remembers to pat itself on the back:

A series of Herald stories in 2011 exposed the exorbitant pay and lavish perks to the nonprofit’s board of local powerbrokers. The series came after the board voted to give departing CEO Cleve Killingsworth an $11 million golden parachute after the health insurer posted a $149 million loss.


That would explain this on Page One:

Picture 4


Say it with me: I celebrate myself and sing myself and yak yak yak.