Former Sanford Health CEO got $49M payout after abrupt departure

Kelby Krabbenhoft, the former president and CEO of Sanford Health who abruptly departed in late 2020, received a more than $49 million payout, according to federal tax documents obtained by Forum News Service.

Mr. Krabbenhoft's payout included a $15 million severance package, a $29.4 million retirement payout and $5.1 million compensation in 2020, according to the IRS filing. 

In a statement sent to media organizations Nov. 15, Sanford said: "The majority of the compensation paid to Mr. Krabbenhoft upon his departure was contractually obligated as part of retirement plans over his 24-year tenure. The remainder was Mr. Krabbenhoft's annual compensation and a severance agreement."

Mr. Krabbenhoft left his role at the Sioux Falls, S.D.-based system Nov. 24, 2020. The departure came days after he wrote an email to 50,000 employees explaining his stance on face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sanford said that the system's board of trustees and Mr. Krabbenhoft "mutually agreed to part ways."

Mr. Krabbenhoft drew national attention to Sanford Health in November 2020 after he sent a 1,000-word email detailing his rationale for not wearing a face covering. In his message, sent Nov. 18, Mr. Krabbenhoft said he'd recovered from COVID-19 and he would not wear a mask because doing so would only be a "symbolic gesture." He considered himself immune from the virus.

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