It all started in February 2004, when Claire O'Connell, the heartbroken and distressed wife of MassMutual CEO Robert O'Connell, accused her husband of having an affair with the insurer's highest-ranking female executive, Susan Alfano.
With this, the company began a full-scale investigation, and the outcome is scandalous. It had been discovered, that Robert O'Connell's phantom, or supplemental, retirement account had mysteriously grown to a whopping $30 million and the person who just happened to look over the account was none other than the alleged mistress, Alfano.
The majority of O'Connell's gains can be attributed to IPOs in which O'Connell traded, such as, JetBlue Airways Corp., Lexent Inc. and Global Power Equipment Group Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter, who spoke to The Wall Street Journal.
In addition, the board at MassMutual believes that O'Connell unacceptably bought a condominium in Florida from the company, and used corporate aircraft improperly.
Later that June, the board unanimously voted that O'Connell should be fired, with Alfano being shown the door at the same time.
There is no doubt that Alfano approved the many illegal trades made by the CEO, to his shadow retirement account - an account in which an executive can trade supposed assets that may or may not lose or gain value as time goes by, all based on the actual return of actual investments - but both she and O'Connell are denying all of the allegations, including that they were having a romantic relationship.
Many see it as a true shame that O'Connell proved to be disloyal to Mass Mutual, for the company performed well under his leadership and guidance. From 1999 through December 2004, MassMutual revenue grew 50%, according to the Journal.