Health insurer WellPoint Inc. said Wednesday that CEO Angela Braly will replace Chairman Larry Glasscock after he retires from the board effective March 1.
Glasscock has guided the company through a period of rapid growth as it become the largest health insurer based on medical enrollment, with 33.7 million members. A statement from the Indianapolis company said Glasscock's retirement was not caused by a disagreement with the company.
Braly, 48, has served as president and CEO since June 2007. She was a WellPoint executive vice president when she was named to replace Glasscock as president and CEO.
Her appointment surprised some analysts at the time because she wasn't familiar to many on Wall Street.
Yet Braly led WellPoint through a recession that has hurt enrollment in employer-sponsored health coverage and a Congressional health care overhaul debate that has knocked the price of health insurance stocks up and down for months.
The price of WellPoint shares has risen more than 40 percent since late fall.
Braly's appointment as company chair was expected, Edward Jones analyst Steve Shubitz said.
"I think Angela Braly has shown she is focused on the future of the company and positioning them to do well in whatever the post-reform environment looks like," he said.
Glasscock, 61, became president and CEO of WellPoint in November 2004, after it joined with Anthem Inc. He was named chairman in 2005.
Glasscock joined Anthem in April 1998 and helped engineer the largest deal in company history a few years later.
WellPoint was formed when Indianapolis-based Anthem Inc. acquired Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based WellPoint Health Networks Inc. for $16.5 billion. The combined company changed its name to WellPoint Inc.
WellPoint operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in 14 states and Unicare plans in several others.
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