Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield on Monday named Christopher Booth, president and chief operating officer, as CEO elect.
Widely expected to succeed CEO David Klein, Booth is slated to take the reins of the health insurer on Jan. 1. Klein announced plans Feb. 28 to retire at the end of this year.
“The best companies have orderly transitions, and this one is as good as it gets,” Excellus chairman Randall Clark said. “Chris is not only the legal architect of our entire corporation, he has been in the pivotal role of running our health plan and achieving membership growth as well as high performance goals.”
An attorney previously with Hinman Straub P.C. in Albany, Booth joined Excellus in 2004 as general counsel and chief administrative officer. He had long served as the insurance company’s outside counsel, guiding it through a series of mergers and acquisitions that made Excellus into the state’s largest non-profit health insurance carrier. Booth was named Excellus COO in 2010. Klein passed the firm’s presidency to him last year.
At Klein’s retirement, Booth also is slated to take over from Klein as CEO of Lifetime Healthcare Cos. Inc.
The $6.2 billion Lifetime Healthcare’s holdings include health plans with 1.8 million members in 39 New York counties. They include Blues plans in Rochester and the Finger Lakes region, Syracuse, Watertown, Utica and Rome and the non-profit Univera Healthcare HMO in Erie and Niagara counties.
Also under Lifetime Healthcare are the non-profit Lifetime Medical Group physician practice groups in Rochester and Buffalo and Lifetime Care, the Rochester area’s largest provider of home-care and hospice services, also a non-profit.
For-profit firms under the holding company are: the national long-term care insurance company MedAmerica Inc.; the employee benefit firm EBS RMSCO Inc.; and Support Services Alliance Inc., a firm that arranges group purchases of insurance products and business services for small businesses.
“It’s an honor to lead such a talented upstate workforce of people who provide care and coverage for their neighbors,” Booth said.
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