Chutes & Ladders—Allina Health’s CEO to retire; Centene refreshes its executive team

Welcome to this week’s Chutes & Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry. Please submit the good news—or the bad—from your shop, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Allina Health

Penny Wheeler, M.D.
(Allina Health)

Penny Wheeler, M.D., has announced plans to retire from her role as CEO of Allina Health at the end of this year.

She has held the top position since 2014, having previously served as the 11-hospital system’s chief medical officer, president of medical staff at its Abbott Northwestern and as a practicing physician.

Wheeler was Allina’s first physician and first woman CEO and is credited for quarterbacking the system’s joint insurance venture with Aetna and inking new value-based care partnerships with other payers.

Chutes & Ladders—Allina Health's CEO to retire; Centene refreshes its executive team
Lisa Shannon
(Allina Health)

Succeeding her will be Lisa Shannon, the system’s current president and chief operating officer.

Initially a dietician, she has held numerous leadership roles across Midwest health organizations such as OhioHealth Corporation, Spectrum Health and KentuckyOne Health. She had stepped into the president’s role just last year.

Wheeler will remain on the system’s board after her departure and plans to support Shannon through the leadership transition.

Centene Corporation

Sarah London and Brent Layton are the beneficiaries of new executive leadership changes at Centene Corporation.

London, who is currently the president of Centene Health Care Enterprises and executive vice president of advanced technology, has been named the new vice chairman of its board of directors. She came to the payer after serving as a partner for Optum Ventures and as the chief product officer for Optum Analytics.

London will maintain her prior duties alongside a bevy of new responsibilities around the payer’s technology, business digitalization, corporate strategy, quality operations, internal audit, compliance and enterprise risk management. She will still report to Chairman and CEO Michael Neidorff.

Chutes & Ladders—Allina Health's CEO to retire; Centene refreshes its executive team
Brent Layton

Layton, currently president of U.S. health plans, products and international as well as an executive vice president, is being promoted to president and chief operating officer of Centene.

He’s been with the company for 20 years and played key roles leading Centene’s health plans, product design and strategic international capabilities.

Going forward, he will be responsible for health plans, products, business operations, population health and clinical operations, marketing, health plan medical, specialty, international and business development, the company said.

Devoted Health

Chutes & Ladders—Allina Health's CEO to retire; Centene refreshes its executive team
William “Mo” Cowan
(Devoted Health)

William “Mo” Cowan is joining Medicare Advantage plan Devoted Health as its chief legal and external affairs officer.

Cowan has extensive experience in the public sector, previously holding a number of senior positions in Massachusetts state government and at one point serving as the interim U.S. Senator for Massachusetts.

He will be wrapping up a four-year stint at GE, where he first led its global litigation and legal policy group before heading its global government affairs, policy and developed markets. Additionally, he held top roles at law firm Mintz Levin and its consulting affiliate.

WellSky, a post-acute care software company, has appointed Cigna vet Andy Eilert as president, emerging markets.

Eden Health, a concierge care provider, has named Chloe Drew as its first chief people officer.

Zing Health, a Medicare Advantage plan focused on the underserved, has appointed Vrajesh Shah as its new chief information officer.  

Big Sky Health, a maker of health and wellness apps, has named Tom Conrad as its new CEO.

Transcarent, a startup tackling employer-sponsored benefits, has brought former Teladoc and Vida Health executive Stephanie Peng as its new chief financial officer.

Brookwood Baptist Health System has named Jeremy Clark as CEO of both Brookwood Baptist Health and Brookwood Baptist Medical Center.

Northwell Health has announced Felicia Hill-Briggs as vice president for prevention.

CitiusTech, a provider of payer-focused technologies, brought on Atul Soneja as its president of operations.

University of Utah Health Hospitals and Clinics has promoted Dan Lundergan from chief operating officer to CEO.

Atlantic General Hospital CEO and President Michael Franklin resigned from his roles on Sept. 3.

St. Joseph’s Hospital-South, part of BayCare Health System, welcomed Christopher Bucciarelli, M.D., as chief medical officer.

Ascellus has added Martha Temple, formerly the CEO of Optum Behavioral Health, to its board.

Carbon Health has appointed Judy Smith and Christine Gorjanc to its board.

Quartet Health, a mental health platform, announced former American Medical Association President Patrice Harris, M.D., has joined its board.

Cleo, a family benefits platform for employers, has named Pamela Simms-Mackey, M.D., to its clinical advisory board.

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