Kelby Krabbenhoft

Internal Revenue Service filings show former Sanford Health CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft was paid more than $49 million in salary, severance and other payouts last year. Krabbenhoft left Sanford last year after nearly a quarter century, receiving a combination of salary, incentive-based pay, severance and two lump sum payouts from supplemental executive retirement plans.

The Argus Leader reports about $15 million was paid as severance and another $29 million was given through the retirement plan, which was started in 1983 specifically for Sanford’s executives. The amount paid to Krabbenhoft upon his departure is shown on the regional health system’s IRS form 990, which is filed annually. 

Kelby Krabbenhoft, long-time CEO of Sioux Falls-based Sanford Health "abruptly left his job on Nov. 24, 2020, after he made series of controversial and unscientific comments about wearing a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Six days prior to Krabbenhoft's Nov. 24, 2020, departure from the health system, he had emailed employees to say he didn't think he needed to wear a mask on the job "as a symbolic gesture," because he considered himself largely immune due to antibodies he developed fighting a case of COVID-19.

Sanford Health is a multi-state health system with about 48,000 employees and major medical centers in Sioux Falls, Fargo and Bemidji, Minnesota, 224 clinics and 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care facilities.