Aetna today announced that Chairman and CEO Ronald A. Williams, 60, will retire from Aetna in April 2011. Aetna said that, effective November 29, 2010, Williams will become executive chairman and Mark T. Bertolini, 54, currently Aetna’s president and head of Business Operations, will be appointed chief executive officer and elected to the company’s Board of Directors. Aetna said that the Board intends to elect Bertolini to the additional role of chairman of the Board upon the retirement of Williams.
“After nearly 10 years at Aetna and with the company performing well, it is time to step aside. The passage of major health care reform legislation has underscored the need for market-based solutions to address quality and affordability challenges in health care, and the next few years will present another opportunity for Aetna to lead,” said Williams. “Mark Bertolini is the ideal person to take Aetna forward. He has done an excellent job in driving Aetna’s strong operating improvement and in the development of our strategic vision of the future.”
Bertolini joined Aetna in February 2003 and held a series of roles with increasing responsibilities before being named president in July 2007. Prior to joining Aetna, Bertolini held positions with Cigna and NYLCare and had been chief executive officer of SelectCare.
“I am proud to be given the opportunity to lead Aetna, a company with extraordinary strengths in brand, values and people,” Bertolini said. “I have had the great fortune to work alongside Ron Williams, whom I greatly admire and who made Aetna a leader in customer-driven innovation and Health Information Technology. I am excited about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and believe Aetna has the right strategy to win in the marketplace.”
“Mark Bertolini brings to the CEO role the experience, skill and foresight to steer Aetna through the next phase of its history. Mark has a keen understanding of the business and what it will take to ensure Aetna’s continued success,” said Gerald Greenwald, presiding director of Aetna’s Board.
“Ron Williams has been a transformative leader. He created a high-performance culture and earned the respect of all of Aetna’s constituents for his integrity and commitment to making quality health care more affordable and accessible for everyone.”
Aetna said that in his full-time role as executive chairman, Williams will focus on board duties as well as Aetna’s Chairman’s Initiatives, public policy and federal regulatory strategy. Following his retirement from Aetna, Williams has agreed to provide consulting services to Aetna and the Aetna Foundation through February 2012.