Bruce Bodaken to Retire in December as Chairman, President and CEO of Blue Shield of California

May 23, 2012, 14:00 ET from Blue Shield of California

Paul Markovich becomes President

SAN FRANCISCO, May 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bruce Bodaken announced today he will retire as Chairman, President and CEO of Blue Shield of California at the end of the year.

During Bodaken's tenure at the not-for-profit health plan, Blue Shield grew rapidly, won numerous large public-sector contracts, proposed a plan for universal healthcare coverage that became a model for the country, and launched a foundation that is one of the most important funders of the healthcare safety net and domestic violence programs in California. The company also developed one of the nation's first accountable care organizations, created an award-winning wellness program that has improved employee health dramatically, constructed three new energy-efficient campuses for Blue Shield's 4,800 employees, and launched a formal corporate social responsibility program. This year, Blue Shield was named one of the world's most ethical companies by the Ethisphere Institute.

In 2011, Blue Shield became the first health plan in the country to cap its net income – at 2 percent of revenue – and return the difference to its customers and the community. The company paid out nearly $475 million last year.

"It has been a privilege to lead Blue Shield and I am proud of our accomplishments," said Bodaken. "We are devoted to our mission of providing access to affordable, high quality health care to all Californians.  We have consistently innovated to improve the healthcare system during a time of tumultuous change in our industry."

The company also announced that current Chief Operating Officer Paul Markovich will become President of Blue Shield and a member of its board of directors on June 1, 2012.  With Bodaken's departure, Markovich will assume the position of CEO in January, 2013.

Bodaken commented, "We are very fortunate to have someone of Paul's caliber and ethic to ultimately assume the reins of Blue Shield. I will continue to be active in carrying out my role as Chairman and CEO. I look forward to leading Blue Shield and to achieving even more for customers and employees in my remaining time. However, starting today, Paul and I will work in transitioning our roles smoothly over the next seven months.

"Paul has been a key part of our success. He brings vision, creativity, and a passion for results that will continue to serve him well in his new roles. The decision to promote Paul was an easy one."

"I am passionate about Blue Shield's mission and honored that Bruce and the board of directors have selected me to be his successor," said Markovich. "Our company is well positioned to make high quality care more affordable in the future."

Under Bodaken's leadership, Blue Shield's membership has grown by 50 percent and revenues have tripled. The company consistently earns top ratings for financial strength and healthcare quality.

In 2002, Bodaken became the first health plan CEO in the country to propose a specific plan for universal coverage. Based on the principle of shared responsibility, his plan is similar in structure to the Affordable Care Act that was enacted by the Congress in 2010.

The company has given Blue Shield of California Foundation more than $150 million in the past five years to support community clinics, children's health initiatives, domestic violence programs, leadership training and policy research. In 2010, it was named by BusinessWeek one of the country's 20 most generous corporate foundations.

With a healthcare cost crisis growing more acute in the past few years, Blue Shield took the bold step of limiting its profits in order to make coverage more affordable for its members. The company's unprecedented "2% Pledge" assures its customers and members that premium increases are the result of higher medical costs, not higher profits.

A 60-year-old native of Iowa, Bodaken taught philosophy while earning a graduate degree from the University of Colorado. Before coming to Blue Shield as chief operating officer in 1994, he worked 14 years at FHP, Inc. He became chairman and CEO of Blue Shield in January 2000. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine's Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care and serves on the board of directors of WageWorks, Inc., America's Health Insurance Plans, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and the University of California, Berkeley's Health Services Management Program. He is co-author (with Robert Fritz) of The Managerial Moment of Truth, published by Simon & Schuster (Free Press) in 2006.

Markovich, 45, began his professional career as a management consultant at Booz-Allen and Hamilton before joining Blue Shield as leader of the product management unit in 1995.  He left in 2000 to pursue a few entrepreneurial ventures before returning to head Blue Shield's CalPERS Business Unit in 2002. In 2005 he was promoted to run the Large Group Business Unit, and in 2009 was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. He serves on the board of directors of the Bay Area Council and the California Association of Health Plans. A North Dakota native, Markovich is a graduate of Colorado College and a Rhodes Scholar. 

About Blue Shield
Blue Shield of California, an independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health plan with 3.3 million members and 4,800 employees. Founded in 1939 and headquartered in San Francisco, Blue Shield of California provides health, life, dental, vision, and Medicare insurance and health care service plans in California, has one of the largest provider networks, and $9.7 billion in annual revenue. In 2012, Blue Shield of California was named one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. Since 2005, the company has contributed more than $170 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation, one of BusinessWeek's most generous corporate foundations. Contact your local agent or broker about Blue Shield of California products and services, or visit

CONTACT: Stephen Shivinsky,
V.P., Corporate Communications
(415) 229-5447

SOURCE Blue Shield of California