WellPoint elects new CEO

WellPoint, Inc., a health benefits company, has elected Joseph Swedish as its new CEO, effective, March 25, 2013.

Swedish, who most recently served as President and CEO for Trinity Health Corporation, succeeds interim CEO John Cannon. Cannon will remain with WellPoint, and in addition to his role as Executive vice president of Legal & Public Affairs he will help guide the transition, providing continuity and operational leadership, the company said.

"Joe embodies the leadership and visionary qualities we value in our chief executive, and the board is confident that under his leadership we will achieve our full potential for future growth and success," said Jackie Ward, chair of the WellPoint Board of Directors. "He brings to WellPoint an extensive track record leading large, complex health care organizations through diverse challenges in difficult market and regulatory environments, and his experience will be invaluable to WellPoint as we continue to find innovative ways to collaborate with providers in an effort to improve quality outcomes and reduce the cost of care. Joe's background, in concert with our management's insurance market expertise, creates a team uniquely qualified to manage all facets of our evolving health care system."

Ward concluded, "I'd like to thank John Cannon for his extraordinary contributions to WellPoint throughout his tenure as interim CEO. John took important steps over the past five and a half months to improve WellPoint's execution, increase shareholder value, refine the company's strategy and reorganize our core operations to better support our strategic growth opportunities. This has created a strong, positive momentum in our operations that Joe will build on in the months and years to come."

"I am honored to be chosen to lead WellPoint," said Swedish. "Having spent my entire career in health care, I have a strong sense of the market in which the company operates and I am energized by the dynamic changes currently taking place in the industry. I'm committed to ensuring that WellPoint remains a market leader, and I look forward to working with my new colleagues to profitably grow and enhance this organization in a changing market environment."

Swedish has 40 years' experience in health care, holding senior executive positions at multi-institutional health care systems, university- and community-based academic medical centers, integrated delivery systems and regional rural referral hospitals. He most recently served as President and CEO of Trinity Health Corporation, an integrated health care delivery system.

Prior to joining Trinity Health, Swedish was President and CEO of Centura Health. He has also served as President of the East Florida and Central Florida Divisions for the Hospital Corporation of America from 1994 through 1998.

Swedish has served on the boards of Coventry Health Care, Inc. from 2010 to 2013; Cross Country Health care, Inc. from 2002 to 2005; and RehabCare Group, Inc., from 2003 to 2005. He is Chairman-elect of the 2013 Health Care Systems Governing Council of the American Hospital Association as well as past chairman of the Medicare Wage Index Task Force and a member of the Equity of Care Council. In addition, he is Chairman of the Catholic Health Association and Director of Loyola University Chicago, the National Quality Forum and the Health Care Education Trust, the company added.