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Monday, April 2, 2012

Highmark CEO Kenneth Melani: Punch-Out in Pittsburgh

     Kenneth R. Melani has lived most of his life in southwestern Pennsylvania. He was born in New Kensington, attended Springdale High School, and graduated from Washington and Jefferson College with a degree in chemistry. After earning his degree in medicine from Wake Forest University, Dr. Melani returned to Pittsburgh in 1979 to complete a three-year residency at West Penn Hospital. Ten years later, Dr. Melani became the chief medical officer at Highmark, the health insurance company headquartered in downtown Pittsburgh. When he took over as CEO in 2003, the 14 billion a year corporation, with millions of policy holders, had become Pennsylvania's largest heath insurer.

     In 2009, Dr. Melani, his wife Tracy, and their three children were living in Fox Chapel, a suburban community along the Allegheny River just northeast of downtown Pittsburgh. That year, the 54-year-old CEO met a 24-year-old knock-out named Melissa Myler, a graduate of Knock High School, and Slippery Rock University. She worked as the operations manager of the Mylan Classic Golf Championship at Southpointe Golf Club, and had a job with the Washington County Economic Development Company. Recently married, Melissa and her husband Mark golfed with Dr. Melani, and attended sporting events with the CEO. In October 2011, the Highmark executive hired Melissa as the sports marketing manager. (I'm not sure what this has to do with health insurance.) Three weeks after bringing her onboard, the CEO and his new employee began having an affair. This would turn out to be a bad executive decision.

     Tracy, Dr. Melani's wife of 19 years, learned of the affair in January 2012. She kicked her husband out of the apartment, and notified Melissa's husband Mark Myler. After being found out, the CEO and his mistress moved into a luxury apartment in O'Hara Township near Fox Chapel. But the lover's honeymoon had come to an end. Not only was Dr. Melani's marriage in ruins, he was starting to worry that his young squeeze was cheating on him. Apparently unaware of the irony in this, and perhaps the justice, Dr. Melani hired a private investigator to check on Melissa's fidelity. Perhaps his mistress was having a clandestine affair with her husband. Outrageous. At this point, virtually everyone who worked at Highmark knew that their CEO was living with a woman, an employee, who was not his wife.

     On Sunday, March 25, 2012, Melessa returned to Mark's apartment in Oakmont, a suburban community just east of Fox Chapel. She went there to speak to her 49-year-old husband. Dr. Melani (or his PI) must have been following her because he showed up at the Myler apartment, and accused his mistress of cheating on him. She asked him to leave, but instead of walking away, Dr. Melani confronted Mark Myler. (Usually it's the wronged husband who confronts the man having an affair with his wife. But if the lover is a CEO of a giant corporation, the norlmal rules of engagement don't apply.)

     The cheated-on husband and his wife's lover started yelling at each other. Next came the pushing, then the punching. (Too bad someone didn't video this fight.) Someone called 911. (While a knock-out was unlikely, one or both of these guys could have gone down with a heart attack.)

     When the police rolled up to the scene, the fight had ended. Both men had swollen faces and a lot of bruises. There was a little bleeding as well. Dr. Melani, however, was still furious. He told the officers that his private investigator had dug up a lot of dirt on his mistress, and the whole mess was about his money. He pulled a Rush Limbaugh and called Melissa a "slut." Sometime during all of this, Dr. Melani phoned his lawyer and was overheard telling him that if the police hadn't arrived, he would have killed Melissa and her husband. (This was reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.) Wow, this guy must have been great to work for.

     Melissa, on the other hand, told the officers that she was not planning a reconciliation with her husband, Mark. Moreover, she did not intend to break up with Dr. Melani.

     On Wednesday, March 28, the Allegheny County District Attorney's office charged CEO Kenneth R. Melani with criminal trespass and simple assault, both misdemeanor offenses. Mark Myler, the presumed victim, was not charged.

     Shortly after the criminal charges and the embarrassing publicity, the Highmark board of directors relieved the CEO of his duties, and placed him on unpaid leave. On Sunday, April 1, one week after the fist-fight in Oakland, the board of directors fired Kenneth Melani, their $4 million-dollar-a-year CEO. Normally when CEOs are axed, resignations are negotiated that involve golden parachutes. But in Dr. Melani's case, there will apparently be no soft landing. For Highmark, this is risky. By throwing Dr. Melani out of the plane without a parachute, there will probably be a costly, and embarrassing lawsuit. (That's what I'm hoping for.) Any guy who would put in jeopardy a $4 million-a-year-job by punching out the husband of his lover, will not slink quietly into the night. This soap opera has just begun.

(The material in this log is based upon reportage in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)


UPDATE

     On June 6, 2012, the prosecutor dropped the assault charges against Melani in return for his promised to take 16, one-hour anger management classes. 

11 comments:

  1. Melissa and Mark Myler's home is in Oakmont, not Oakland.

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  2. They say that a company is only as good as the weakest link and Dr Melani was the CEO of Highmark correct?? Highmarks current slogan "Accepted Everywhere" will need to change because the actions of their former CEO's behavior is not "Accepted Everywhere" by the people, employees and members of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. These are the people that helped Kenneth Melani "earn" that 4 million dollar a year salary and piss it away on an unqualified "Sports Marketing Manager". Ken Melani has alot of nerve to hire an attorney to defend his actions at this point but, it just goes to show you what 4 million dollars can buy for you these days.

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  3. This makes me sick. My Daughter had a good job, working at Fedex, she was relieved from her job and was denied unemployment and you got this so call Witch/Bit** screwing to men, most likely got the job because of the CEO letting him get his HICKEY STICKY With out the needed education that you need to get the job that she now holds (She went back to work today)....This CEO has a history of Sexual Advances on a lot of woman and having more than just this affair...And He was a CEO of a HUGE Company...Who was closing their eyes. And My daughter Honest, caring, sits at home trying like hell to get a job...Then you got Assholes like this running our insurance company. Again makes me sick..

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  4. Based on this, Jeff Romoff, President & CEO of UPMC, should be placed in protective custody!

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  5. Why does a man of his character and stature stoop to this level? What an embarrassment for Highmark, the community, and his family. Pittsburgh will never look at him the same. This is so very sad.

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  6. So wonder if this star crossed lovers are back together. Looks like the mistress is bent on a reconciliation based on the police account. Don't feel sorry for both mistress and lover. Wrong judgment was made and both need to pay for the consequences.

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  7. If you ever wonder why health insurance is so expensive. Take a look at this address on google maps satellite! This is the Melani residence. Talk about the gross misappropriation of funds. Wow!

    1100 Stonegate Manor
    Cheswick, PA 15024

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  8. Kenneth Melani’s scandalous behavior cost him his job. http://bit.ly/ScandalousBehavior

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  9. The blog is good enough, keep up writing such type of posts.Joe Tacopina

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  10. Mark myler is no chior boy either. Also a cheater and physical abuser of women, he got what was coming to him. He's a dangerous person who, if I'm sure you look, got the hell beat out of him in the early 2000s

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