HealthPartners CEO Mary Brainerd To Retire In June
After 25 years at HealthPartners and 15 years as its president and chief executive, Mary Brainerd announced Monday she would retire from the health care nonprofit on June 1.
Andrea Walsh, who is currently the executive vice president of the Bloomington-based organization, was named Brainerd’s successor.
Similar to Brainerd, Walsh has been with HealthPartners, one of the state’s largest healthcare nonprofits, since its early days. (Walsh joined in 1994, whereas Brainerd joined two years earlier at the organization’s inception.) Before joining HealthPartners, Walsh practiced law and was an assistant commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Health.
“I’ve been fortunate to work closely with Mary for much of my career,” Walsh said in a statement. “I look forward to leading HealthPartners and continuing our focus on providing the best and most affordable care and coverage for our patients, members and the community.”
Brainerd said she felt Walsh was “the right leader” to take over HealthPartners, citing her “proven track record both inside [HealthPartners] and in our community” when it came to building partnerships.
Brainerd helped grow the nonprofit’s staff from 13,000 in 2012 to more than 23,000 today, largely due to HealthPartners' merger with Park Nicollet, a St. Louis Park-based health care system.
Currently, the organization runs a care delivery system that includes 1,700 physicians, seven hospitals, 55 primary clinics, 23 urgent care locations and numerous specialty practices across Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
“I’m so privileged to have worked alongside 23,000 compassionate, caring and dedicated colleagues who focus on what matters most — helping our patients, members and the community live healthy lives,” Brainerd said in a statement. “I will miss that day-to-day connection, and believe that our best days are yet to come.”
Although Brainerd is exiting HealthPartners, she will remain a prominent figure within the state’s business and philanthropic community. The St. Paul native was one of 40 government, civic and business leaders that founded the Itasca Project, an alliance aimed at improving Minnesota’s economy. She also serves on the boards of Minnesota Life/Securian, Minnesota Council of Health Plans, Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, Bremer Financial Corporation and Minnesota Public Radio.
Brainerd was one of five individuals inducted into the 2011 Twin Cities Business Hall of Fame. She was also recognized by TCB as an Outstanding Director in 2012 and one of six Wonder Women honored in 2015 for their business prowess and community leadership.