Citing irreconcilable differences, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Western New York parted ways with Thomas Harnett, its president and CEO of seven years, who was credited with turning around the once money-losing health plan. The insurer, which has 780,000 members in upstate New York and annual revenue of $1.3 billion, has been exploring a conversion to a publicly traded company. Officials said Harnett's dismissal had nothing to do with the organization's strategic direction but was based on leadership style and approach. Executive Vice Presidents Cheryl Howe and James Cardone will run the company until a new CEO is hired. Harnett earned $825,000 in 2001. He was hired in 1996, one year after the health plan lost more than $40 million amid declining enrollment. -- by Cinda Becker
CEO of N.Y. Blues plan ousted over style, approach
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