Blue Cross CEO to step down in 2010

Bob Greczyn, an outspoken critic of President Obama's health care legislation, will retire in 2010. Longtime Blue Cross veteran Brad Wilson is promoted to president and keeps his chief operating officer role.

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Chief Executive Bob Greczyn, who has been an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama’s proposed health care legislation, plans to retire next year, the health insurer announced Monday.

In another move, Blue Cross promoted Chief Operating Officer Brad Wilson to president. He will retain his COO post.

Greczyn didn't disclose a retirement date, other than to say he would step down sometime next year.

In a press release, Blue Cross said Greczyn would “retain” the CEO job.

Wilson has worked at the firm since 1995 in several different roles, including general counsel and chief administrative officer.

Greczyn and Blue Cross leadership have been criticized in recent months for the compensation they received in 2008. Greczyn earned nearly $4 million, a 23 percent increase from 2007. His pay included a $3 million bonus.

Wilson, meanwhile, received a 32 percent raise, to $1.78 million.

While saying he supports health care reform, Greczyn has expressed opposition to the controversial "public option" aspect of Obama's reform plan. The option would create a government-subsidized system to offer coverage to people who cannot obtain private health insurance, and insurers like Blue Cross say the system would drive up their costs.

“We're pleased to have found a person who is very experienced at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and who, throughout his life, has been committed to improving the lives of North Carolinians,” Jeff Houpt, chairman of the Blue Cross Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “This culminates a very thoughtful process by the Board of Trustees which has been underway for more than a year. We feel it has produced the right leadership to take our company forward during these times of change in health care.”

Wilson is a native of North Carolina, graduated from Appalachian State University, earned a law degree at Wake Forest University and was general counsel to former Gov. Jim Hunt.

“I am honored that the Board of Trustees has selected me as president, and I look forward to the opportunities and challenges ahead,” Wilson said. “Our company is North Carolina’s leading health insurer and has a very important role to play in the lives and success of our customers and our state. I am proud to have the opportunity to help lead our company into the future.”

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