"Following the appointments of Jack Rowe as CEO and Bill Popik as chief medical officer, the addition of Ron Williams is another major step in strengthening Aetna's management team and financial performance," Chairman William H. Donaldson said. "Ron is an accomplished, nationally recognized business leader who will help round out our team with his experience in the health care benefits industry."
"Ron Williams brings a proven track record as a successful leader in the industry," Dr. Rowe said. "He has managed on a national scale and demonstrated his ability to deliver consistently solid results through health insurance industry business cycles.
"He has been successful in developing open access products and improving both customer satisfaction and profitability across a very large organization. Ron's experience and strong leadership skills will be critical assets in the implementation of Aetna's new strategic plan."
Williams joined WellPoint's predecessor, Blue Cross of California, in 1987, serving first as senior vice president, Marketing and Specialty Products and then as executive vice president, Group and Network services.
He became president of Blue Cross of California in 1995, with responsibility for all California customer segments. In 1999, he added the role of group president, Large Group Division, with national responsibility for Unicare, while continuing to serve as president of Blue Cross of California.
"I look forward to helping continue the transformation that Aetna has begun," Williams said. "The company has tremendous assets, including a nearly 150-year history of success built on serving its customers extremely well. As the largest national provider of health care benefits, Aetna is well positioned to be the industry leader by helping its members achieve affordable access to high-quality health care.
"Bill and Jack have focused on putting the patient at the center of everything Aetna does and building strong partnerships with physicians and hospitals. This will not only transform Aetna, but also will pave the way for major improvements in the health care delivery system through collaborative efforts of physicians, hospitals and Aetna.
"I believe my operating experience in the industry prepares me well for this assignment, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to join this exciting effort."
Prior to joining WellPoint, Williams was a senior vice president at Vista Health Corp., a group marketing executive at Control Data Corp., and president and co-founder of Integrative Systems. He earlier served as an administrative assistant to the governor of Illinois.
He is a member of the board of Blue Cross of California and Syncor International Corp. He is also active on the boards of the Bay Area Council, the California Association of Health Plans, the California Business Roundtable and the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles.
He is a graduate of Roosevelt University and holds a M.S. in Management from the Sloan School of Management at MIT.
Aetna is the nation's leading provider of health care and group benefits, serving more than 19 million health care members, 14 million dental members and 11 million group insurance customers.
For more information about Aetna Inc., please visit the company's website at www.aetna.com.