CHICAGO – October 6, 2020 – The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) announced today that its Board of Directors has named Kim A. Keck as BCBSA’s new president and chief executive officer and a member of the Board of Directors, effective Jan. 4, 2021. Keck is currently president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI).
Keck, 56, brings a wealth of experience to this role and is the first woman to serve as the Association’s president and CEO since the organization’s founding four decades ago. During her leadership of BCBSRI since 2016, she and her team have advanced a vision to lead a state of health and well-being across Rhode Island—putting the Plan’s 450,000 members at the center of BCBSRI’s strategic initiatives around cost and value stewardship, convenience and comprehensive health. In addition, Keck has led policy efforts fortifying elements of the Affordable Care Act to ensure all Rhode Islanders have access to affordable, quality care. Her commitment to combatting long-standing social issues influencing health outcomes, including childhood obesity, housing insecurity and racial inequities, has already had an impact in Rhode Island. Keck has also been an active member of the BCBSA Board, serving on the Finance and Audit Committee, the Organization and Governance Committee and the Health Policy and Advocacy Committee—all of which have amplified her keen insights into the work of the Association and the key issues the Blues are navigating today.
“I am delighted to welcome Kim as BCBSA’s new president and CEO,” said David L. Holmberg, BCBSA Board chair and president and CEO of Highmark Health. “Having served on the BCBSA Board together, I know Kim to be a proven leader with a keen ability to continue to drive the change and momentum needed to lead the Association through the unprecedented challenges health care faces today. Given her deep knowledge of the business and the Blue system, and her track record as an incisive leader who is laser focused on results, I am confident that under Kim’s leadership, the Blues will continue to grow and become an ever-more important voice in shaping the transformation of the U.S. health care system.”
Prior to BCBSRI, Keck spent 28 years at Aetna. She held numerous leadership positions, including president of Aetna’s northeast region and interim president of the southeast region. In those positions she was responsible for $20 billion in revenue and approximately five million members across the commercial and Medicare segments. In addition, she held a wide range of strategic, financial and operational leadership roles at Aetna.
“I’m honored and excited to be selected by the Board as the new leader of the Association. I am inspired to advance the work of the 36 Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, which represent the largest and most trusted brand in health insurance,” said Keck. “The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the foundation for this trust, as we never wavered in our commitment to serve the needs of our 109 million members and the communities where they live. At this seminal moment in our history, when we face the dual challenges of a public health crisis and a centuries-old crisis of systemic racism that has created significant inequities, it’s time to reimagine and realize a better future. I see enormous opportunity to shape and transform the state of health care in our country.”
Keck will take BCBSA’s reins from Scott Serota, who is retiring from BCBSA after more than two decades as president and CEO.
“It has been my privilege to spend the past 25 years at the Association. I’ve spent most of my career here because I believe in our brand, and I believe the Blues are in the best position to advance health care in our country,” said Serota. “The commitment to do right by Blue members and their communities has been at the core of our culture of collaboration and success for the last 90 years—and this commitment will continue for the next 90 years. I know the brand and the BCBS companies will be in good hands under Kim’s leadership.”
To ensure a smooth leadership transition, Serota announced in 2019 his plans to retire at the end of 2020, after more than 20 years leading the organization. During this time, he supported the growth of the BCBS System from 65 million members to 109 million members, and he built on its strengths of innovation, collaboration and community involvement to help shape the future of health care, guided by his core belief that everyone should have access to high-quality health care. During his tenure, he championed the use of the Blues’ market-leading BCBS claims data to uncover key trends and insights into the health care challenges facing Americans and focused efforts to address the social determinants of health. He helped drive advances in patient-focused care, including the recent development of Blue HPNsm, a high-performance network for large employers to tap into the best care at the best prices through the Blues’ access to value-based care providers. The Blues also broke new ground in lowering the cost of select generic drugs and providing greater access to medication through a partnership with Civica Rx.
Holmberg said, “On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Scott for his exemplary leadership these past two decades. His strong vision, insightful direction and deep industry knowledge have been critical to making the Blues a trusted voice in business and public policy spheres. We wish Scott and his family well.”
The appointment of Keck follows a thorough recruitment process overseen by a selection committee of the Board, which vetted and interviewed a diverse slate of experienced candidates from across the health ecosystem. The committee retained a global executive search firm to provide guidance and support through the search process.
“I am thrilled that Kim has accepted this new role,” said Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California, immediate past chair of the BCBSA Board and head of the BCBSA Board’s selection committee. “Kim will identify and drive important changes in a highly collaborative way, which is exactly what we need to achieve our collective mission.”
Keck graduated with honors from Boston College with a degree in mathematics, and from the University of Connecticut with a Master of Business Administration in finance. She is a CFA charter holder. Keck will continue to serve on the board of Oak Street Health. Keck is a frequent speaker on health care and women’s leadership.