UnitedHealth Group, the Securities and Exchange Commission and ex-chief William McGuire resolved their ongoing battle Thursday over McGuire’s controversial compensation. He will return $461 million in stock options and other compensation to his former employer and pay a $7 million civil penalty to the SEC, in exchange for all charges and legal claims to be dropped. This is in addition to around $200 million in options he gave back earlier this year.
The settlement is the largest so far in the ongoing investigation into backdated stock options. Other than Apple‘s (nasdaq: AAPL – news – people) Steve Jobs, McGuire was the best-known executive caught up in the investigation, and UnitedHealth (nyse: UNH – news – people ) was the largest company accused.
McGuire, a medical doctor who ran a Colorado-based HMO that was purchased by UnitedHealth in 1988, eventually took over the company in 1991 and presided over 15 years of impressive growth. He made the company the biggest and most profitable in the health insurance industry through an emphasis on information technology and other efficiency measures. But McGuire was also known for taking tough stances against doctors and a secretive and combative approach. Most recently, his fat paychecks–which some years have exceeded $100 million– have gained notice, propelling him to the Forbes 400, an uncommon achievement for a corporate manager.