By The (Everett) Herald Business Journal Staff
The CEO of Premera Blue Cross announced last week that he plans to retire this year.
Gubby Barlow, who joined the insurance company in 1997, will stay until Sept. 30. He then will continue to work through the end of the year helping in the transition with his replacement, Jeff Roe, Premera’s current president.
“This is a significant step for Premera,” Barlow said in a news release. “The company has risen from exceptionally difficult times over a decade and a half ago to become the leading choice for customers seeking health care coverage in our region, ranging from individuals to Fortune 100 companies.”
Barlow has been a transformational leader at Premera, said Kathy Munro, lead director of Premera’s board and chair of the succession committee.
“The company has become the leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest with Gubby at the helm over the past 15 years,” she said in the release.
She said the values of the company, the operational excellence and service are reflections of Barlow’s leadership.
Roe, who was named Premera’s president on Jan. 1, has an exceptional record serving in leadership at Premera, Barlow said in the release.
Roe’s selection as CEO was the result of an extended succession planning process by Premera’s board.
“The board is thrilled to have Jeff lead Premera at a time of significant change in the health care system,” Munro said. “We believe the combination of Jeff’s proven leadership skills coupled with his vision for building on the success of Gubby’s superlative tenure as CEO will yield exceptional results.”
Before becoming president, Roe led Premera’s employer and individual market segments throughout the Pacific Northwest.
He joined Premera in 1996, managing the company’s communications and marketing functions and later led Premera’s Washington market business segment.
Premera Blue Cross has operated in Washington since 1933 and is a not-for-profit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.