Highmark Terminates CEO Amid Scandal
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Dr. Kenneth Melani has been Highmark’s CEO since 2003, but he was fired Sunday morning.
Last week, he was put on unpaid leave after he was arrested for allegedly assaulting his mistress’ husband.
Highmark’s Board of Directors met Sunday morning, where the decision was made to terminate Melani.
“We learned today, this morning, that he’s been terminated,” attorney Robert Del Greco said.
The series of events leading to the board’s decision began last Sunday night when police were called to a home on Canterbury Court to break up a fight.
According to police, Melani and Mark Myler were engaged in a verbal altercation. Myler’s wife, Melissa Myler, works for Highmark and was allegedly involved in a romantic relationship with Melani.
“This train is moving fast. He has been exposed to what I would say the double whammy within the last week. He’s been – criminal charges have be [filed] against him and he’s been fired,” Del Greco said.
It is not clear if Melani – whose salary is reported to be about $4.5 million a year – will receive any severance.
In the statement from Highmark, they said Melani was fired for cause, which usually means there is no severance.
Melani faces a preliminary hearing later this week on the criminal charges. The woman at the center of the case is believed to be still employed by Highmark.
At this point, Melani’s attorney said he does not know if his client was terminated for moral reasons or something else entirely.
Highmark’s Board of Directors released a statement, which said in part:
“The board announced that it has terminated for cause Kenneth R. Melani M.D. as president and CEO.”
“We’re certainly going to explore the propriety of the dismissal and the termination,” Del Greco said.
“The board has reviewed this situation thoroughly and has taken decisive action to address the matter,” Dr. Robert Baum said in a statement. “For 75 years, Highmark has served this community with integrity and is committed to maintaining the highest standards. We have dedicated, hard-working employees and I know they take great pride in working for Highmark. Our mission of providing quality, affordable health care has never been more important, and I’m looking forward to working with our employees and senior management team in addressing the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”
Dr. Baum is the board chair and acting CEO of right now. He will continue in the role until a permanent decision is made about the future.
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