MetroHealth: Independent audit “confirms” former CEO paid himself unauthorized bonuses

Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 5:19 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - An independent audit released by MetroHealth seems to show that former President and CEO Akram Boutros “Circumvented rules and processes to pay himself $1.9 million in unauthorized bonuses and took deliberate steps to conceal his actions from the Board of Trustees and other parties.”

The audit comes months after Dr. Boutros was fired from MetroHealth after the healthcare system said he gave himself $1.9M in bonuses. Bonuses are supposed to be put in for board approval.

According to the audit, which was done by law firm Tucker Ellis and accounting firm BDO, Dr. Boutros:

  • Included himself as an eligible employee in the supplemental bonus pool without Board approval. The Board has sole authority to evaluate and approve bonuses for the CEO.
  • Performed self-evaluations of his achievements and calculated his own supplemental bonus payouts.
  • Failed to disclose his supplemental bonuses to the Board, compensation consultants and other parties.

In November, Dr. Boutros spoke with 19 News about his firing, saying it was a “retaliatory” decision. Dr. Boutros also denied the claims that he broke the rules in receiving a bonus.

In the audit also outlined steps being taken in the future to clarify bonus compensation rules:

  • The MetroHealth CEO’s annual PBVC compensation (or any bonus compensation) must now be the subject of a separate Board of Trustees resolution and will be audited to assure compliance with all MetroHealth compensation policies and requirements.
  • Compensation consultants, who have been hired by MetroHealth in the past to advise on rates of pay at peer health systems and compensation trends, must now verify details of the CEO’s pay and benefits with MetroHealth Human Resources, rather than relying on data provided by the CEO alone.
  • The Board will receive actual payroll data for all senior executives at least once annually.
  • The Board has created a stand-alone compensation committee to manage all policies and procedures related to executive pay.
  • MetroHealth is conducting a national search for a Chief People Officer whose duties will include supervising Human Resources and providing regular updates to the Board. MetroHealth has issued an RFP for a compensation consultant and is in the process of negotiating an agreement with a compensation consultant.