Capital BlueCross CEO Bill Lehr Announces Retirement; President Gary St. Hilaire to Become Chief Executive Officer
Lehr to continue as Chairman of the Board
HARRISBURG, Pa. (March 1, 2012) – Bill Lehr, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Capital BlueCross, announced today he will retire as CEO June 30. Lehr also announced the Board’s election of Capital BlueCross President Gary D. St. Hilaire to succeed him as Chief Executive Officer, effective July 1.
“Serving as the chief executive of Capital BlueCross has been the privilege of my professional life,” said Lehr. “We moved with a sense of urgency to transform this great Company to become the medical-value leader in the markets we serve, and by doing so, we have positioned Capital BlueCross for another 75 years of service and growth. We have become a more robust business competitor, while still retaining our lofty mission of service to the communities of central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. This is a special Company indeed, and I will always be proud to be affiliated with Capital BlueCross.”
“After nearly four years as CEO, I still find this work to be energizing,” Lehr said. “But I will turn 72 years of age shortly, and it is time for me to move on to the next chapters of my life. I have been working with the Board on a succession plan for some time now. We began to implement that plan in 2010, with the election of Gary St. Hilaire as President. And we continue to execute that plan now, with Gary’s election as CEO.
Gary has been instrumental in this Company’s transformation, and there is no one better suited to lead its future.”
Said St. Hilaire: “I want to thank Bill and the Capital BlueCross Board of Directors for their confidence. While I am humbled by their faith in me, I am certain their confidence in the direction of this Company is well placed. Together we have successfully refocused this great Company on a winning business plan. We see the change that is roiling health care, not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity for service and for growth. We are running toward those opportunities with vigor and rigor.
“I especially want to thank the nearly 2,000 women and men who come to work at Capital BlueCross every day, justly proud of the honorable role we play in the communities we serve, and always eager to win in the markets where we compete. In fact, our Company’s accomplishments as this region’s medical value and customer service leader are a direct reflection of these dedicated individuals and the incredible depth of talent they represent.”
Lehr’s retirement as Chief Executive, effective June 30, 2012, was formally accepted by the Capital BlueCross Board of Directors at its regular meeting yesterday. The Board unanimously elected St. Hilaire to succeed Lehr as Chief Executive at the same meeting. Lehr will continue to serve as Chairman of the Capital BlueCross Board of Directors, a post he has held since 2004.
Kathryn P. Taylor, Lead Director of the Board, said “I am proud of the orderly process this Board has undertaken to ensure stable, top-tier leadership for this great Company, through a time of dramatic change in the health care marketplace.”
Prior to his executive tenure with Capital BlueCross, Lehr served as Senior Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer of Hershey Foods Corporation. Lehr also served as the Lead Director of Hersha Hospitality Trust, a publicly traded real estate investment trust.
An active community leader, Lehr has served countless nonprofit organizations. He has chaired the Boards of Americans for the Arts, the Foundation for Enhancing Communities, Lebanon Valley College and the Susquehanna Art Museum, among others. Lehr holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated cum laude, and received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.
St. Hilaire has 25 years experience in and around health care. He first joined Capital BlueCross in August of 2005 as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. He was promoted to Executive Vice President in 2009, and became President in September 2010.
Before joining Capital BlueCross, St. Hilaire helped co-found and was Chief Financial Officer of the health care technology company Choicelinx, which developed consumer-engagement tools and consumer-directed health care products. Prior to his five-year experience at Choicelinx, St. Hilaire was Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, a $4 billion health plan that now serves over three million members.
St. Hilaire is a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University. He currently serves on the board of Harrisburg-based Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, is the Capital Region Campaign Chair for Easter Seals, and is a board member and volunteer with several local youth organizations. Since moving to the region six years ago, he resides in Mechanicsburg with his wife of 23 years and their six children.
Capital BlueCross is the leading health insurer in its region, providing health insurance coverage to residents in central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.
Capital BlueCross is committed to making health insurance simple for its customers and members through all the stages of life by offering nationally acclaimed customer service and a full range of innovative benefit programs for groups and individuals at competitive prices.
By establishing a culture of caring, Capital BlueCross constantly strives to do more in order to deliver more for the men, women and children who depend on the company for their health insurance needs. Capital BlueCross has been providing medical value to the people and communities of central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley for more than 70 years and employs nearly 2,000 people in the region.
Headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa., Capital BlueCross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.