Iowa-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurer Wellmark has named Cory Harris, the company's president and chief operating officer, as its next CEO starting in 2021.
Harris will succeed Wellmark chairman and CEO John Forsyth, who is retiring at the end of this year after 24 years with the insurance company. Wellmark's board of directors tapped Harris as part of a comprehensive succession planning process, according to the company.
Harris joined the insurer in 2011 as executive vice president and general counsel and has held various executive roles since then. He leads several of Wellmark's subsidiary health plans: he is the chairman, CEO and president of Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa and CEO of Wellmark of South Dakota.
"Cory has played a leading and critical role in successfully developing our long-term corporate strategy and driving our strong business performance over the past several years," Forsyth said in the news release. "He is undoubtedly the right person to continue to lead the execution of that plan as Wellmark continues to evolve to meet the needs of our members."
According to Wellmark, Forsyth is the longest-serving Blue Cross and Blue Shield CEO. The company credited him lowering healthcare and administrative costs, growing membership by more than 60% and spearheading the adoption of diversity and inclusion initiatives. Wellmark's lead director Daryl Henze will replace Forsyth as the company's chairman.
Wellmark serves 2 members in Iowa and South Dakota, according to the company. Annual statements filed with the Iowa Insurance Division and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners show that Wellmark and its subsidiaries recorded $268.9 million in net income on $3.8 billion in revenue in 2019. These filings document only Wellmark's fully insured business.