Blue Cross CEO to retire in February

Posted December 11, 2009 12:11 p.m. EST

— Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Chief Executive Bob Greczyn will retire on Feb. 1 after a decade in charge of the state's largest health insurer, the company announced Friday.

During Greczyn’s tenure, Blue Cross membership has nearly doubled, to 3.7 million from 1.9 million at the end of 1999. He also tripled annual revenue at the nonprofit and created an affiliated foundation that has invested $54 million in health and wellness programs statewide.

"The performance of the company under Bob’s leadership speaks for itself,” Dr. Jeff Houpt, chairman of the Blue Cross Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “His innovation has driven this company to new heights. We'll miss him both as a leader of this company, this state and the many roles he's taken with the national Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.”

Greczyn has been an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama’s proposed health care legislation because of its so-called "public option" provision. 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.

He and other executives at the insurer also 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.

Blue Cross promoted Chief Operating Officer Brad Wilson to president in October in preparation for Greczyn's retirement. He will succeed Greczyn as CEO.

Wilson, who was general counsel for former Gov. Jim Hunt, has worked at Blue Cross since 1995 in several roles, including general counsel and chief administrative officer.