O'Connell Firing Goes to Arbitration

June 24, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Deposed MassMutual leader Robert O'Connell is now set to pursue arbitration to fight for a severance package believed to be worth more than $10 million.

O’Connell’s attorney has already filed for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association’s Boston office, and advised MassMutual in a letter not to alter or destroy any documents or e-mails concerning O’Connell, according to a Hartford Courant report.

The Springfield, Massachusetts company’s board of directors took a final vote Thursday to remove him as chairman, president, and chief executive for “a systematic and pervasive pattern” of abusing authority, violating the company’s code of conduct, and other “gross misconduct” (See  MassMutual Board Reiterates O’Connell Firing ).

O’Connell told reporters afterward that “virtually every charge they made is unsubstantiated.” He expects eventually to be vindicated and said “I truly expect some of them will be changing their minds in the process,” according to the Courant.

O’Connell said he told directors that the process they used to fire him was unfair. “As I said to the board, I have done nothing improper and always discharged my responsibilities at MassMutual in the best interests of the company,” he said.

O’Connell’s bitterness came through in a statement late Thursday by his spokesman Joe Grillo, who blamed “disgruntled members of management” for a “carefully orchestrated campaign to drive Mr. O’Connell from the company.”