Phoenix's CEO Stepping Down As Insurer Battles For Survival

Full story: Hartford Courant

Dona D. Young, who tried to turn around the struggling Phoenix Cos. for six years as CEO, will retire April 15 as the Hartford insurer fights for survival in a dismal economy.
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1 - 20 of 35 Comments Last updated Mar 27, 2009
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JenR

United States

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#1
Mar 23, 2009
 

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I dont blame her, take the money and run girl
Jim

East Montpelier, VT

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#2
Mar 24, 2009
 

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JenR wrote:
I dont blame her, take the money and run girl
JenR must be from AIG and have no moral values or worh ethic. This is exactly why and how our economy is in the toilet. The mentality that it's owed to me, take the money and run, bla bla bla.
GEO

Newington, CT

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#3
Mar 24, 2009
 

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Another Gut the company and run! Get the huge bonus and run. to bad you cant hide your money in swiss bank accounts anymore. Thank Obama for that. Better take it in cash and hide it in a wall safe.
Menopause

New Haven, CT

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#4
Mar 24, 2009
 

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Why should she be allowed to retire? She failed and is a failure. She should be fired. There should be no consulting contract as her efforts lead to a disaster. Those around her should be fired, not promoted. Phoenix is in deep shxt. All those connected to this mess should be whacked. Normal employees are. Where the hell is the board? Why is it these companies are all run the same, ineffective leadership and boards that run from their responsibility. Pitiful.
An Independent Voice

East Hampton, CT

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#5
Mar 24, 2009
 

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Analyst Jimmy S. Bhullar of J.P. Morgan has the most realistic view on what Dona Young has done for the Phoenix.

I am wondering whether it has a good thing going public since that's when all the problems started. Or whether going public just bought the Phoenix more time.

Mr. Bhullar alluded to the problem of not getting a good return on equity. This implies making bad investments?

This is truly sad times for one of Hartford's long running institutions.
Sean

Plymouth, MN

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#6
Mar 24, 2009
 

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They should pay her in stock... based on the price of a share when she became CEO...
Waldo 313

Woodstock, GA

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#7
Mar 24, 2009
 

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She tanks the company and walks away with 15 million. Not bad for a dufus. Whose the dummy!
Borris Badenov

United States

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#8
Mar 24, 2009
 

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Menopause wrote:
Why should she be allowed to retire? She failed and is a failure. She should be fired.
You obviously have NO idea how things work in this new world. Let me set you straight.

In this world, laziness, sloth, and abject failure are admired, revered, and rewarded. The bigger the failure, the larger than the reward.

Frugality, success, honesty, morality and a love for God and Country are punished and ridiculed. The reward for these previously thought to be positive traits is that we get to pay for those who fail miserably, steal, and leach off of the gravy train.

I hope this clear things up. To succeed in this new world one only has to throw away ones concious.

Repeat after me:

"WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME"
"WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME"

Practice this for at least an hour every day.

If I can be of any further assistance, don't hesitate to ask.
sweeet

West Hartford, CT

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#9
Mar 24, 2009
 

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Dona's Board of Directors should be commended for their fine exercise of fiduciary responsibility to shareholders. The stock tanks. Business flees. But la Dona gets a golden parachute - and the Directors collect their perks and have a fine lunch. Its all so sweet.
Retired Phoenix Agent

Wethersfield, CT

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#10
Mar 24, 2009
 

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Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead

It is about time that Dona Young stepped down from her losing leadership strategy. She keeps hiding behind a “turnaround” as if she arrived at the company after things went wrong. She was part of the decisions that brought this once good company down. She is responsible for its failures. Bob Fiondella, the mastermind of selling out the policyholders so that he could get paid more, shares the blame. It started when Sandy Weil was making 40 million dollars a year and Fiondella wasn’t. Fiondella wanted what he thought he was entitled to and running a mutual life insurance company would never yield a mega payday. The only way to create the mega payday for Fiondella and Young was to change the company from a mutual to a stock company. Mega paydays for senior executives were the sole motivator. The company line was capital was needed in order to grow and compete in a diversified world. Whatever.

Young and Fiondella overpaid for money management companies so that revenues would rise, without regard to long-term profitability or the quality of managers purchased. The revenue growth was needed in order to trigger bonuses paid to senior executives. The move to expanded money management services was such a good move that in 2008 a write down of hundreds of millions of dollars had to be taken as a result of losses from the money management business.

Expenses were cut for silly things like agencies that contained sales agents that got paid commissions. It is ironic that MassMutual is mentioned as a possible acquirer. MassMutual stuck to its core products and mission of providing quality life insurance products from a mutual life insurance company. MassMutual is a company that never needed a turnaround strategy because Young and Fiondella didn’t work there.

Now the most disturbing aspect of the story is that the do-nothing board didn’t fire Young. She is retiring, which means that she will continue to bleed the company of millions on the way out. There is no difference between her and the executives of AIG that feel a sense of entitlement without taking any responsibility for the mess that they created for their companies. No she has no shame, only a sense of entitlement. She does have a good role model in Fiondella, who is receiving a million dollars a year for helping to put the company, along with Young, in the position where it would need a turnaround.

If the Board of Phoenix had any responsibility to their fiduciary role to the shareholders, Young would be fired. The stock has lost 95% of its value in the last twelve months. Young should be fired. Levick should be reporting on Young’s retirement package and what recent provisions she has made to feather her nest. Now would be a good time for class-action lawyers to sue the Board for rewarding the failure that is Dona Young. She and the Board should be tarred and feathered.

The Board Members can be seen:
http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml...
JenR

United States

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#11
Mar 24, 2009
 
Jim wrote:
<quoted text>
JenR must be from AIG and have no moral values or worh ethic. This is exactly why and how our economy is in the toilet. The mentality that it's owed to me, take the money and run, bla bla bla.
morals? lets see what you do when you retire.
John

King Of Prussia, PA

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#12
Mar 24, 2009
 

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It's all Obama's fault !! Impeach the SOB.
cameo35

Bloomfield, CT

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#13
Mar 24, 2009
 

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....What kind of CEO was she? leaving when it's now, the company need her the most. To me she's spineless!...
Cowpie

Hartford, CT

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#14
Mar 24, 2009
 
Dona gets a $14 million pension and a $300K consulting contract. Price of stock is 61 cents, a drop of what 99%? What a crock of shxt.
moonshine man

Frederick, MD

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#15
Mar 24, 2009
 
I'm sure she'll get a nice package. Drove the company to go public, I'm sure collecting a nice sum at that time, then the fraud she perpetrated or perpetuated or participated in during the 80s broke, now she has a penny stock special on her hands. Shareholders must love her. I'm sure her package will be in the 8 figures. She deserves a nice capital infusion at the end for her stewardship. Bravo!
What Next

Hartford, CT

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Mar 24, 2009
 

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My real question is what’s next for Diane Levick and the Courant. This writer and the courant, has been focusing a tremendous amount of their time and efforts on dragging Dona and the Phoenix Companies names thru the mud over and over again since 2001.

It’s almost like Diane has a personal vendetta against both Dona and Phoenix. Really Diane, what’s the real truth? Did you get canned from Phoenix at one point because of your demonstrated inability to find evidence when making a argument, or continued screaming that the sky is falling when the company has a bad quarter (not unlike every other insurance company out there today)? Did your boyfriend in high school dump you so he could upgrade to date someone like Dona? Did Dona spill coffee on you while you were waiting for your latte at Starbucks a few years ago?

Here’s what I think is next. Or at least what I hope is next. Diane Levick, gone from the Hartford Courant, and unable to find a position writing for a respectable paper, mainly due to her inability to leave personal vendettas and opinion out of the news. When left alone, Phoenix becomes a powerful company that sets itself above other insurance companies and contributes to the growth of Hartford. Hartford, now recognized as a strong city, attracts a real paper with real journalists, all while the Hartford Courant fades away and becomes the “Journal Inquirer” of Hartford.
Get Real

Avon, CT

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#17
Mar 24, 2009
 

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"What Next" are you for real? Dona Young don't you have better things to do than to write in as "What Next"? If it is not Young, then maybe her husband. Diane Levick is just doing her job. Ms. Levick's reporting the obvious didn't cause the stock to lose almost all of its value in 12 months. If Ms. Levick didn't report the facts you don't think that the investment analysts wouldn't have seen the drop in sales, net redemptions, negative earnings, etc.

If you think that Ms. Levick reported lies then prove it.

Wake Up "What Next"! Stop the personal attacks against Ms. Levick, the messanger, that are unwarranted. Direct your anger to the person at the helm of the good ship Phoenix who navigated the boat into the iceburg-filled waters while looking for a tropical island to retire at and then blamed everyone else for the mess she was in.

Young is the criminal here, not Levick
Gail J

Windsor, CT

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#18
Mar 24, 2009
 
cameo35 wrote:
....What kind of CEO was she? leaving when it's now, the company need her the most. To me she's spineless!...
Out for herself, and could have cared less about the little people.
Lemming

New York, NY

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#19
Mar 24, 2009
 
Retired Phoenix agent speaks and remembers the facts. Pay attention!

Dona Young was the General Counsel at the time of the Demutualization engineered by Fiondella. It was supposedly opposed by the former Chairman and Vice Chairman; but it created a major payday for about a half dozen people. Young did trim a lot of expenses to focus on "Independent Distribution." However, the loss of ratings killed their independent distribution model. Several years ago, Young sold the Agent force to LPL; so now is anyone selling any product for the company?
LRK

Avon, CT

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#20
Mar 24, 2009
 

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What Next wrote:
My real question is what’s next for Diane Levick and the Courant. This writer and the courant, has been focusing a tremendous amount of their time and efforts on dragging Dona and the Phoenix Companies names thru the mud over and over again since 2001.
It’s almost like Diane has a personal vendetta against both Dona and Phoenix. Really Diane, what’s the real truth? Did you get canned from Phoenix at one point because of your demonstrated inability to find evidence when making a argument, or continued screaming that the sky is falling when the company has a bad quarter (not unlike every other insurance company out there today)? Did your boyfriend in high school dump you so he could upgrade to date someone like Dona? Did Dona spill coffee on you while you were waiting for your latte at Starbucks a few years ago?
Here’s what I think is next. Or at least what I hope is next. Diane Levick, gone from the Hartford Courant, and unable to find a position writing for a respectable paper, mainly due to her inability to leave personal vendettas and opinion out of the news. When left alone, Phoenix becomes a powerful company that sets itself above other insurance companies and contributes to the growth of Hartford. Hartford, now recognized as a strong city, attracts a real paper with real journalists, all while the Hartford Courant fades away and becomes the “Journal Inquirer” of Hartford.
Hey "What Next" are you for real???

Do you prefer to keep your head burried in the sand?

This company leadership has failed so many people (employees, stockholders & policy holders) and you complain about Levick and her reporting???

Diane could have reported a lot more facts about Bob and Dona with their greed, lack of morales and no-talent leadership. Maybe if the Board of Directors actually made an effort to do something the company wouldn't be is such the mess that it is.

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