Ronald A. Williams is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aetna Inc., a leading diversified health care benefits company, which had revenue of approximately $31.6 billion in 2008. Under his leadership, Aetna has sought to make a positive impact on health care in America by serving as a catalyst for change, focusing the industry, public policy leaders, physicians and employers on issues aimed at increasing access and affordability.
Joining Aetna in 2001, Mr. Williams has focused on creating innovation in the industry, especially through information technology, and bringing new levels of transparency to the health care system. In September 2001, Aetna became the first national insurer to offer a consumer-directed health plan. In August 2005, Aetna’s launch of a new online consumer tool to view physician-specific price information was widely recognized as the beginning of a new era of transparency in the health care marketplace. More recently, Aetna led the effort to develop industry standards for electronic personal health records, which provide a new way for consumers to be more engaged in their health care.
In 2002, Mr. Williams was named President and joined Aetna’s Board. He was named CEO in February 2006 and Chairman of the Board in October 2006. Throughout his Aetna career, Mr. Williams has been outspoken in making the business case for quality in health care. He guided efforts to create Aetna’s Aexcel network to provide access to cost-effective, quality care in high-cost specialties.
Mr. Williams also is a strong proponent of meaningful health care reform. He was an early advocate in calling for an individual coverage requirement to expand access to health care and provide assistance to those who truly cannot afford it. He has championed specific reforms in op-ed articles he authored or co-authored in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Financial Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Mr. Williams also lends his time and expertise to a number of organizations, such as the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare, which he currently chairs. He is a trustee of The Conference Board and the Connecticut Science Center Board. In January 2007, he was elected to the Board of Directors of American Express Company, and in October 2008, he was elected a vice chairman of The Business Council. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he serves on the MIT North America Executive Board. He is a member of the Alfred P. Sloan Management Society, the Business Roundtable, the International Federation of Health Plans, the Healthcare Leadership Council and the National Intelligence Senior Advisory Group.
Prior to joining Aetna, Mr. Williams was Group President of the Large Group Division at WellPoint Health Networks Inc. and President of the company’s Blue Cross of California subsidiary. Mr. Williams joined Blue Cross of California in 1987 and accepted a series of increasingly prominent roles. Previously, Mr. Williams was co-founder and Senior Vice President at Vista Health Corp., group marketing executive at Control Data Corp., and President and co-founder of Integrative Systems.
Mr. Williams is a graduate of Roosevelt University and holds an M.S. in Management from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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