News Feature | November 14, 2014

UnitedHealthcare Shuffles Management Team On Eve Of Open Enrollment

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Private Exchange Enrollment

Leadership team revamped as UnitedHealth poises itself to play in ACA marketplaces.

In a major shakeup, United Healthcare has shuffled its management team just as marketplace open enrollment is set to begin. In a press release, company officials said the reconfiguration of its senior leadership team was “designed to continue the company’s progress toward a future state defined by distinctive consumer and market responsiveness, market-leading clinical care quality and service delivery, and the most advanced data, technology and applied analytics capabilities.”

“We believe UnitedHealth was due for a management shake-up given recent performance, which lagged its peers in certain areas … many of which were Boudreaux’s responsibilities,” Peter Costa, a senior stock analyst at Wells Fargo, wrote in a note to investors, according to the Star Tribune. The changes “will likely leave investors a bit unsettled, but perhaps not disappointed.”

As part of the redesign, Gail K. Boudreaux has announced her departure as executive vice president, UnitedHealth Group and CEO, UnitedHealthcare, and Dirk McMahon, currently chief operating officer of Optum and CEO of OptumRx, has been appointed to replace her.

The company has also created a five-member Office of the Chief Executive, including Stephen J. Hemsley, CEO of UnitedHealth Group, Larry C. Renfro, vice Chairman of UnitedHealth Group, and David S. Wichmann, President, UnitedHealth Group, as well as Marianne Short, the company’s executive vice president, Chief Legal Officer, and Ellen Wilson, executive vice president, Human Capital.

Fortune Magazine reports the surprise restructuring announcement gave David Wichmann and Larry Renfro expanded duties and did not include Boudreaux in the new team. Boudreaux told Fortune she did not want to comment on the leadership changes. “It’s been a great run,” she said. “I’m really proud of our results, and I’ve accomplished what I came here to do. I love to lead businesses. I’m going to be open-minded about it, but I do want to lead an enterprise where I can make a difference. I’m definitely not retiring.”

In the company release, Hemsley stated, “We are bringing forward the next generation of leaders to work together, over the next five years, to continue diversifying our offerings, advancing our industry-leading technology and data services, elevating our service levels, deepening our collaboration with customers, governments and care providers and innovating around consumers and next stage care provision.”

Modern Healthcare reports UnitedHealthcare is about to enter 2015 as a much bigger ACA health insurance player with participation in 19 new exchange markets next year.