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New Leadership Emerging at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana

Sherry Cladouhos Announces Intention to Retire Before the End of 2010, with 36 Years of Service
At Montana’s Leading Provider of High Quality, Affordable Health Care Benefits
 

Montana, September 7, 2010 - Sherry L. Cladouhos, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) announced today her intention to retire from her leadership position at the company before the end of 2010.  Concurrently, the BCBSMT Board of Directors is pleased to announce the promotion of Mike Frank, who most recently served as President of the company, to the position of President and CEO-Elect of BCBSMT.  Upon Ms. Cladouhos’s departure, Mr. Frank will become President and CEO of the company.  
 
“Sherry’s strong leadership and keen ability to collaborate with our stakeholders throughout the U.S. and in Montana is truly remarkable,” said Jerry Lusk, Chair, BCBSMT.  “As she steps away from her leadership position, the company is in a powerful financial position with customer service and satisfaction at historic high points.  Under Sherry’s leadership, Mike Frank has played a significant role in this success.  As the torch of leadership is passed from Sherry to Mike, the people of Montana can have confidence BCBSMT will continue to provide the highest quality, most affordable health care benefits and services available in Montana.” 
 
During her more than 36 years of service to members, health care providers, employers, customers and employees of BCBSMT, Ms. Cladouhos performed a number of leadership and management roles.  Cladouhos started her career in health care benefits and insurance in 1974.  During her career at BCBSMT in the 1980s and 1990s, Cladouhos’s leadership responsibilities were many.  She supervised the administrative services and facilities of the company.    She ran the membership and customer service divisions.  By the 2001, as senior vice president, marketing and operations, Cladouhos led a number of departments of the company, including marketing and sales, underwriting/actuarial, member services and support, information technology, government programs, finance and corporate treasury.  She directed the strategic planning, budgeting and implementation of corporate strategies as well.  In addition to her responsibilities at BCBSMT, Cladouhos served on the Boards of Directors for a number of the company’s subsidiaries, including Western States Insurance, Insurance Coordinators of Montana and Health-e-Web.   In 2005, after many years of earning a proven track record of developing, implementing and achieving strategic and corporate objectives at the company, Ms. Cladouhos was appointed to serve as the senior executive of the company in her role as President and Chief Executive Officer.
 
Cladouhos is dedicated to community service and has promoted the involvement of BCBSMT and its charitable foundations in supporting important initiatives focused on the promotion of healthy lifestyles, effective education, community involvement, support for public servants including those involved in military service, and the prevention of alcohol and drug abuse.  She is currently the Chair of the Board of the Montana Chamber of Commerce; a board member of the Montana Meth Campaign; and, is active in a number of other charitable organizations.  
 
At a national level, Cladouhos has held several leadership positions with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), including close work with members of the U.S. Congress, the Montana congressional delegation and others to help forge the new health care reform laws in a manner that has promise for Montanans and businesses in Montana.
 
In her notice to BCBSMT employees issued today, Cladouhos wrote: 
 
Over 36 years, I have worked with the most talented, compassionate and dedicated people with whom I can ever imagine serving.  I am proud to have helped build this great company that continues to play a vital role in making Montana such a great place for us to live and raise our families. 
 
As individuals and as a team, you all -- more than anybody -- understand the dedication, intensity and hard work required of each Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana employee.  We are constantly innovating and bringing improved solutions and service to our customers.  As I step away, I know that you will maintain and improve upon our high standards under Mike Frank’s leadership.     
 
As I prepare for the end of my career at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, I do so with great respect for my colleagues at the company.  The company is in a great financial position, with strong reserves and significant administrative cost reductions over the past five years.   Across the board, our customer service performance measures are at an all time high.  And, with more than 70 years of high quality service to Montanans under our belt, no company is better positioned to make the new health care reform laws work for the people of the Big Sky state.     
 
While it is not easy for me to step away from you, I do so with a confident smile on my face, with the knowledge that you all remain my friends, my neighbors and my partners in helping to build strong communities and a vibrant Montana for future generations.
  

Mr. Frank is a 11 year veteran of the company.  He is an attorney, and has served as Chief Operation Officer and General Counsel of the company.  He is currently the President of the company.  In a written notification to employees, the Board of Directors of BCBSMT addressed their intention to appoint Mike Frank to serve as President and CEO of BCBSMT upon Ms. Cladouhos’s departure later this year:   
 
With more than three decades of service to millions of Montanans and customers outside of our State, Sherry has the great respect and trust of the many people our company serves, of her business colleagues in Montana and in our industry, of health care providers and leaders, and of elected officials and health care thought leaders.  As an active member of the business community, Sherry can be proud of her role as one of the most prominent people helping to build a strong economy, to help shape health care policy and to create high-quality jobs in Montana. 
 
Sherry will leave Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana in a very strong financial position with a loyal base of members, clients and customers who are being served by a very dedicated, effective team of employees and a strong leadership team.  We take pride in her many positive accomplishments at the company.  And we share in her optimism for our company’s promising future.
 
Upon Sherry’s departure, we are pleased that Mike Frank has accepted the offer from the Board of Directors to serve as President and CEO of the company.  Certainly, Mike’s proven track record of success, his experience as an attorney and his more than 11 years of service as a leader at our company gives us confidence in his capabilities.  Mike’s strong performance during our detailed evaluation and interview process helped us understand that he truly has the vision and inspiration to serve as the senior leader of the company.
 
Over the course of our discussions with Mike, it became very clear to us that his mission to lead Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana into a prosperous future is both inspired and realistic.  During his time leading the Health Care Transition Initiative at the company, Mike and his team demonstrate that we can effectively leverage our existing values to help bring about positive change that benefits our members and customers.  Now, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana is the leading force in Montana that is making the new laws work for our State.         
 
Along with his strong performance in the health care reform arena, Mike is a seasoned business strategist, with a clear ability to ensure that the company thrives and remains financially strong.  He understands the importance of high-quality customer service.  And he is dedicated to supporting our communities, to continue proactively working with stakeholders to improve quality and to lower the cost of health care, and to leading the effort to shape effective public policy.
 
As we enter this time of transition, the Board of Directors has great confidence in the proven ability of the leadership team and of all of you to achieve the best possible results, whatever the challenges may be.  Our confidence is due largely to Sherry’s effective leadership and positive management style that empowered talented employees, including Mike Frank, to achieve such positive results over the course of her time as the senior executive of the company.  We know that Mike shares the same values and dedication with Sherry, which promises to help him continue to direct the company toward a bright and promising future.
 
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana
 
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is Montana’s leading not-for-profit health services corporation.  BCBSMT has conducted business for 70 years in Montana.  BCBSMT serves more than 240,000 members across the state and another 70,000 nationwide through BlueCard. 
 
CONTACT:
 
Tim Warner
Sr. Director, External Affairs
406.431.4366
tim_warner@bcbsmt.com

 
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