A 36-year-old Stephen Wiggins told Modern Healthcare in 1992: “One of the quickest ways to the top is to start there.” But beginning a journey on a summit can also make for a bumpy descent.
At the time he was named an Up & Comer, Wiggins was chairman and chief executive officer of Oxford Health Plans, the managed-care company he founded in 1984 as a young Harvard Business School graduate. At that point, Oxford's revenue was surging and enrollment was soaring. But that was all about to change.
One of the highest-paid managed-care executives in the country in 1996 and 1997, Wiggins was eased out in 1998 after the Trumbull, Conn.-based HMO posted a surprising loss of $78.2 million in October 1997. Wiggins blamed computer glitches for reimbursement delays and undercharging for services.
Class-action lawsuits alleging that company officials concealed the extent of the problems and a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation followed.
Ultimately Wiggins resigned when investment firm Texas Pacific Group agreed to invest $350 million in Oxford in exchange for installing a new CEO. In the years since, Wiggins, 51, has invested in and started several other healthcare companies, including HealthMarket, a consumer-driven healthcare company. It was sold to a public company called UICI, later named HealthMarkets. He is the chairman and CEO of Golden Pond Healthcare, a so-called special-purpose acquisition corporation that has filed with the SEC to go public this month. He also founded FMR Group, a generics manufacturing company, and he is currently an operating partner of Essex Woodlands Health Ventures, a venture capital and private equity firm.