Aetna Gets a Black CEO

Today, Ronald A.Williams will replace John W. Rowe, M.D., as CEO of Aetna.

Williams will be responsible for management of the company’s strategy, which includes collecting racial and ethnic data about its subscribers to address racial, ethnic and gender disparities, businessweek.com reported Jan. 16.

When he joined Aetna in 2002, the company was recovering from losses of $279.6 million, aetna.com stated. Williams revived the company by cutting cost and targeting new revenue sources.

According to Aetna’s 2004 report, they provid coverage to part-time and hourly workers at more than 700 companies nationwide, as well as 322,000 students at over 130 colleges and universities.

Moving forward, Williams plans to build on what Rowe did for Aetna; which included creating health savings accounts and employer-sponsored funds that provide people with a set amount of money to spend on medical care, businessweek.com reported.

“We will focus on growing our business by listening to our customers, understanding their needs, and providing them with innovative solutions,” said Williams in a Jan. 4 press release. “We will continue to develop new approaches to medical management and quality, performance-based physician networks and consumer information in order to help people optimize their health and financial security.”

Williams, who oversees 27,000 employees, was listed in a February 2005 issue of Black Enterprise as one of the 75 Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America, aetna.com reported.

“The corporate leaders on our inaugural list of top black managers set a standard of excellence that many of the executives on our 2005 list were challenged to match and exceed,” founder of Black Enterprise Magazine Earl G. Graves was quoted. “We are confident that today’s black corporate elite will do the same for future generation of African-American corporate achievers.”