Sassi to take over WellPoint consumer unit

WellPoint Inc. has appointed Brian A. Sassi as CEO of its consumer business unit, which includes the individual, senior and Medicaid arms of the Indianapolis-based health insurer’s operations. By Feb. 1, Sassi will replace Joan Herman, who announced in October that she planned to retire by mid-2008.

Sassi was president of Blue Cross of California, the largest of the 14 Blue Cross or Blue Shield plans that WellPoint operates. Sassi joined Blue Cross of California in 1989.

“His strong combination of market knowledge, operational experience and industry leadership will help ensure continued growth of our Consumer Business Unit, which has been and will continue to be critical to WellPoint’s success,” WellPoint CEO Angela Braly said of Sassi in a written statement.

WellPoint also announced that Leslie Margolin would become president and general manager of Blue Cross of California on Feb. 11.

WellPoint has experienced significant turnover in its executive ranks since the company was created by the 2004 merger of Indianapolis-based Anthem Inc. and California-based WellPoint Health Networks. When Herman retires, four of the five top executives who led the company a year ago will have left. The fifth, Chief Actuary Alice Rosenblatt, plans to retire in the second half of this year.

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