August 11, 2008

Barry Resigns as Blue Cross CEO


The Board of Directors of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana announced today that it has accepted, with great reluctance, the resignation of President and CEO Gery J Barry. Mr. Barry has recently accepted a position as Chief Strategy Officer for Aetna, Inc.

Aetna is the company at which Mr. Barry started his career 33 years ago, working there for more than 21 years before taking on CEO positions with two other organizations, first in Canada and most recently with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. In his new capacity, Mr. Barry will report directly to Aetna's Chairman and CEO, Mr. Ronald Williams. He will guide the company's domestic and international strategy and be heavily involved in healthcare policy at the national level.

Mr. Barry will continue to work with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana over the next few weeks to allow time for the Board and the company's senior management team to achieve a smooth transition, including the establishment of an appropriate interim leadership structure.

"Speaking on behalf of the entire Board, we're very sorry to see Gery go," said Brent McCoy, Board Chairman. "He has done a remarkable job for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana over the past four years, leaving the company stronger than it has ever been - not only in membership and financial strength, but also in the strength of our staff and senior management team, our IT infrastructure, our culture and our community-wide profile. He has also made a great contribution to the state of Louisiana, providing outstanding leadership in healthcare during and after Katrina, and working tirelessly to establish a better healthcare system for all people of Louisiana."

"Despite how very attractive my new position is, I can't fully describe the difficulty of making this decision at this time," Mr. Barry said. "My experience here in Louisiana and with Blue Cross has been deeply rewarding in every respect. Of course, the best part has been all the great people I've had the pleasure of getting to know, both within the company and throughout the state. It has been a particular privilege to work with our Board, our extraordinarily talented and committed staff at Blue Cross, and so many others."

"One compensating factor for me personally is that my new position will allow me to continue to participate in healthcare reform efforts here in Louisiana, which is indicative of how potentially important our efforts here are for the future of healthcare nationally," Mr. Barry said.

The Board plans to undertake a national search to replace Mr. Barry, while considering internal candidates as well.

For more information, contact Mike Reitz, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, at 225-295-2148 or by e-mail at

About Blue Cross

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is Louisiana-owned and -operated. Marking its 74th anniversary this year, the company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. It is a tax-paying mutual company, owned by its policyholders. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana also has district offices in Alexandria, Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans and Shreveport. The company's subsidiaries include HMO Louisiana, Inc. and Southern National Life Insurance Company, Inc.