Independence Blue Cross Announces President and CEO Joseph A. Frick to Retire December 2010 and Assume New Board Roles

Transition to successor Daniel J. Hilferty underway

Aug 31, 2010, 16:25 ET from Independence Blue Cross

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Joseph A. Frick will retire effective December 15, 2010, after serving nearly six years as president and chief executive officer of Independence Blue Cross (IBC) and 18 years with IBC, the company announced today. Frick will maintain a leadership role with IBC, serving as a vice chair of its Board of Directors and leading a newly created board committee that will focus on strategic partnerships and initiatives.  

Daniel J. Hilferty was named to succeed Frick as president and chief executive officer, also effective December 15. Hilferty has served as executive vice president and president of IBC's Health Markets since January 1, 2010.

The company said today's announcement is the next step in a comprehensive planning process initiated more than a year ago by Frick with IBC board chair Walter D'Alessio and the Executive Committee of the board to ensure a thoughtful, progressive leadership succession plan. That process began earlier this year with the replacement of the company's chief operating officer position, formerly held by now retired Christopher D. Butler, with two new roles: an executive vice president of Health Services to strengthen focus on IBC members' health and an executive vice president and president of Health Markets to better serve customers and to enhance consumers' capability to manage their health care. Since January 1, these two new positions have been held by I. Steven Udvarhelyi, M. D. and Daniel J. Hilferty, respectively.  

"There are so many things I am proud to have been a part of during my 18-year tenure with Independence Blue Cross," said Frick, "but perhaps the most significant is that our company's brand recognition is second to none and we are regarded as a trusted, respected leader in the Philadelphia community. That is a testament to the exceptional talent and depth of experience of our dedicated and resourceful associates who are committed to making a difference every day in the health of our members, and to our Board of Directors and our leadership team."

"It has been a true privilege and meaningful, transformational experience to lead Independence Blue Cross," Frick added.  "My retirement will not change my steadfast commitment to this great organization and its mission -- to provide access to high quality, affordable health care and to enhance the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve. I am very pleased that the Board has asked me to continue to serve IBC in a new capacity as a vice chair of our board and as the head of a new board committee. Thanks to the well-orchestrated succession plan we carefully prepared with our board, Dan, IBC, and I are ready for this change."

"For the last six years, Joe has led IBC through many significant changes in our company, market, and industry with his characteristic integrity, consistent demand for facts and data, passion for strategic planning, complete commitment to our customers and business partners, and deep respect for our associates," said board chair D'Alessio. "Joe became CEO in 2005 following the untimely death of Fred DiBona. As if sensing the changes that were coming in our industry, Joe saw a need for a new discipline around planning for the future. He instilled that practice and process throughout the organization, beginning in 2006 with IBC's 2010 Strategic Plan. With Joe's background in human resources and commitment to talent development, we have developed an exceptional senior team with a very strong bench supporting them -- a team well prepared to continue to successfully navigate IBC through increasing competition locally and transformational changes in the health care industry nationally."  

Frick, 58, was named president and chief executive officer of IBC in January 2005. Prior to that, he served for eight years as IBC's senior vice president of human resources and administration, responsible for corporate planning and business development, as well as human resources and administrative services. In 1993, Frick joined IBC as vice president of Human Resources. Before joining IBC, Frick held several management positions with increasing responsibility at Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. (1987 to 1993), which published The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, and at Westinghouse Electric Corporation (1974 to 1987).

In October 2008, Frick completed a two-year term as chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves on the boards of the Chamber and its CEO Council for Growth. In addition, he is a member of the boards at La Salle University and the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Frick is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Committee of Seventy and he is currently serving as the United Way 2010 Campaign Chair for southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationally, he serves on the boards of directors of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) and America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), and chairs the Brand Committee of the BCBSA. He is also a member of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, a nonprofit organization comprised of action-oriented chief executives committed to fighting cancer.  

"Frankly," said IBC board chair D'Alessio, "we have a best of all worlds scenario here: in Joe, a seasoned business leader and IBC executive who will continue to serve the company through board posts, and in Dan, a respected industry leader with a track record of building successful companies and more than 25 years of experience in health care, government affairs, communications and education. Despite extraordinarily challenging economic times, IBC has performed very well in 2010, we expect continued sound financial performance, and we will continue to move forward with a clearly defined strategic direction under the capable leadership of Dan Hilferty."

In January 2010, Hilferty, 53, became executive vice president and president of IBC's Health Markets, after serving 13 years as president and CEO of the AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies, which is jointly owned by IBC and Mercy Health Systems. Under Hilferty's leadership, AmeriHealth Mercy grew into the largest organization of Medicaid managed care plans in the United States, touching 6.5 million lives in 14 states across the nation. As head of IBC's Health Markets, he has overseen sales and marketing, and had profit-and-loss responsibility for IBC's core Blue Cross business in the five-county Philadelphia region, including Personal Choice and Keystone health plans. In addition, he has overseen IBC's subsidiary operations: AmeriHealth, which provides health coverage to customers outside the five-county area; Independence Administrators and AmeriHealth Administrators, which provide health benefits administration to self-funded organizations with more than 100 employees in the five-county area and nationally; Comp Services, which offers administrative services to self-insured workers' compensation programs in the tri-state area; and AmeriHealth Casualty, which offers workers' compensation insurance, life and disability insurance, third party claims administration, and disability management in the tri-state area and Maryland.

"I have known and worked closely with Dan throughout my tenure at IBC, and I am absolutely convinced of his ability to successfully lead this organization with integrity, sound judgment, and wisdom, particularly as health care reform rolls out over the next few years," said Frick. "Having partnered with Dan on complex initiatives this year, I have been even more impressed with his concern for the needs of our customers and business partners and his passion for our mission to provide access to high quality, affordable health care. I am certain that Dan will step into his new role with a vision for the future, an abundance of energy, and a focus on driving for success."

"Spending the last eight months at IBC, working side by side with Joe and the tremendous IBC team, getting to know associates and customers, and contributing to the development and implementation of our strategic plan has been the perfect launching pad for my new role as president and CEO," said Hilferty. "I am thankful to Joe and the board for their foresight in creating this orderly transition, and I am excited about our company's future."  

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.3 million people. For more than 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross' HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Independence Blue Cross can be found at

SOURCE Independence Blue Cross