Grew BlueCross BlueShield Parent During his Decade of Leadership
Alphonso O’Neil-White sits on The Business Council’s Board of Directors
The following is a release sent out by HealthNow this morning.
BUFFALO, NY Feb. 25, 2013 – Alphonso O’Neil-White, president and CEO of HealthNow New York Inc., announced today that he is initiating a transition plan to retirement.
O’Neil-White held the CEO’s position for a decade, longer than any modern CEO in the 76-year history of the market-dominant health insurer. He said he made the announcement now to allow for a seamless transition. He remains in excellent health as he approaches 65.
“I am extremely proud of what our company and team of leaders accomplished during this decade-long run I’ve so enjoyed,” O’Neil-White said. “This is an appropriate time for me to announce my intentions, not only because of my age and tenure, but because I know HNNY is poised and prepared to thrive in the new health-care environment of the next several years.”
O’Neil-White and Thomas J. Hook, chairman of the HealthNow board of directors, emphasized that a succession plan is in place, and that the lead time gives the board ample room to do a national search for O’Neil-White’s successor. Members, customers and associates will see no impact on services during the transition, they said.
“Our board recognizes the achievements Alphonso made during his tenure. We know his commitment to the Western New York community will continue,” Hook said. “And I want to thank him, on behalf of the board and all our associates, for his outstanding leadership and commitment to our members, as well as the communities we serve.”
HealthNow New York Inc. had estimated annual revenue in 2012 of $2.5 billion and serves more than 800,000 members. HealthNow is a BlueCross BlueShield Association licensee in Western New York and in New York’s Capital District, as BlueShield of Northeastern New York. The company operates HealthNow Administrative Services in Pennsylvania and California.
O’Neil-White is in his 17th year at HealthNow, having relocated from Washington, DC to accept the position of senior vice president and general counsel. Since taking the helm as interim CEO in 2003, he led the company’s dramatic turnaround.
He is credited with returning it to a position of consistent financial strength, appropriate reserve levels and maintained market leadership. HealthNow is widely viewed as a leader and innovator in the field, at the cutting edge of the dynamic changes currently sweeping the health care marketplace.
Before HealthNow, O’Neil-White served as vice president and general counsel for the organization now known as America’s Health Insurance Plans (“AHIP”). As a representative for the organization, he travelled throughout the country working on health policy issues, testifying before the U.S. Congress and state legislatures, as well as providing national media commentary on health care issues. He has experience in the public sector as well as the not-for-profit health care sector, serving as senior counsel for Humana Inc., a national, publicly traded health care company; and as general counsel for one of the nation’s first health maintenance organizations, Group Health Association, Inc.
O’Neil-White served as chair-elect of the Health Law Section of the American Bar Association and retains his license to practice law in the District of Columbia, New York and Kentucky.
O’Neil-White is a trustee and director on a number of local and national boards, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Buffalo State College Council; the National Institute for Healthcare Management; the BlueCross BlueShield Association, serving as board chair in 2013; and the Business Council of New York State, Inc. He is a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and is also immediate past chair of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.
He graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, where in 1968 he became its first African-American student and, in 1972, its first black graduate. His law degree is from the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law.
The HNNY board established a CEO Transition Committee comprised of company executives and board members, and retained Russell Reynolds Associates of Manhattan, which has specific health-care sector experience, to identify O’Neil-White’s successor.