Blue Cross MN Names Michael Guyette CEO

The health care insurer, which pushed out its former chief executive in July, has appointed Michael Guyette as its next leader.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota—the state’s largest health care insurer and one of its major employers—said Monday that it has appointed a new president and CEO.

Eagan-based Blue Cross, which pushed out its former chief executive in July after only several months on the job, said that Michael Guyette will take the reins on January 7.

Guyette most recently served as president of national accounts for Hartford, Connecticut-based insurer Aetna, a role in which he oversaw operational performance and business strategy for Aetna’s national accounts division, which serves more than 8 million members, according to Blue Cross. Before joining Aetna in 2010, he held senior leadership positions at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida for eight years, including senior vice president for the company’s diversified business unit.

Guyette also held a variety of senior sales and marketing positions with Independence Blue Cross and AmeriHealth, Inc., as well as positions at Prudential Healthcare and Continental Insurance. In 2010, he served as chairman for the Consortium of Health Plans, a coalition of 21 Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.

“I look forward to leading Blue Cross during a time of unprecedented change and opportunity in the health care industry,” Guyette said in a statement. “Blue Cross has a longstanding record of excellence and innovation, an incredibly dedicated team, and is well poised to build on its ability to drive better health for its members at a greater value.”

Blue Cross has gone through a couple of CEOs in recent years. After three years at the helm, Patrick Geraghty left his post at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota in 2011 to take the same position for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida.

In January, the organization announced that it had selected its next leader, Kenneth Burdick, a former UnitedHealth Group executive.

But in July, the organization’s board of trustees announced that Burdick had left the organization after the board became aware of “concerns related to whether there had been adequate disclosure of some anticipated business activities.”

The investigation found that there was “no financial impropriety or unlawful actions, but the lack of disclosure was not in alignment with Blue Cross policies and management expectations,” the organization said at the time. The board concluded that Blue Cross “required a different style of leadership to lead the organization to a new level of success in a rapidly changing and increasingly more complicated health care business environment.”

Scott Lynch has served as interim president and CEO since Burdick’s departure. Blue Cross said Monday that Lynch will retain his roles as senior vice president and chief legal officer when Guyette takes over as CEO.

“On behalf of the board, I want to express how pleased we are to have Michael Guyette leading Blue Cross into the next phase of our work as a company committed to the health of all,” Vance Opperman, chairman of the Blue Cross board of trustees, said in a statement. “He has a strong track record in driving organizational growth, fostering operational excellence and innovation. Michael has demonstrated great leadership and strategic focus in his previous roles, and given his strong health industry experience he is ideally suited to take the helm of the state’s largest health plan in today’s fast-paced, dynamic environment.”

(Vance Opperman is owner and CEO of MSP Communications, which publishes Twin Cities Business.)

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota employs roughly 3,600 and has roughly 2.7 million members, according to spokesman David Feider.