WellPoint’s Carlson Leaving Insurer After Missing on CEO

WellPoint Inc., the second-biggest U.S. health insurer, said James Carlson will leave the company, three days after losing the competition to be the carrier’s next chief executive officer.

Carlson, the former CEO at Medicaid insurer Amerigroup Corp., will leave Indianapolis-based WellPoint on Feb. 28, according to a statement e-mailed by Kristin Binns, a company spokeswoman. He had joined the company in December, after WellPoint closed its $4.9 billion acquisition of Amerigroup.

WellPoint said Feb. 12 that it had chosen Joseph Swedish, CEO of the nonprofit hospital system Trinity Health Corp., to be its next leader, ending a six-month search. Carlson, 60, was among the other candidates under consideration, a person familiar with the process told Bloomberg News last month.

“After helping close the Amerigroup transaction and assisting over the past six weeks with the integration of the two companies, Jim Carlson will be leaving WellPoint effective February 28,” WellPoint said in the statement. “We wish Jim well, and thank him for his many contributions.”

While Carlson had signed a contract to remain with WellPoint for two years, the pact allowed the two sides to part under “changed circumstances,” said Carl McDonald, a Citigroup analyst, in a Feb. 13 note to clients. The WellPoint statement didn’t mention Carlson’s contract.

Binns declined to comment when asked how Carlson’s contract would be handled. WellPoint said last month that Richard Zoretic, Amerigroup’s former chief operating officer, would run its Medicaid business.

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