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New HealthNow chief begins tenure with Buffalo-based insurer

HealthNow New York's new CEO took the reins of the region's largest insurer today.

David W. Anderson, 59, succeeds Alphonso O’Neil-White, who spent 16 years with HealthNow, the last 10 as president and CEO, making him the longest-serving chief executive in modern times for the 76-year-old insurer.

Anderson's appointment was announced earlier this month following a five-month national search for O'Neil-White's replacement.

Anderson served for the last seven years as CEO of UnitedHealthcare’s Southern California Region health plan.

HealthNow officials declined at the time of Anderson's appointment to disclose details of his overall compensation package. However, a company spokeswoman said Anderson's base salary would be comparable to, but lower than, that of O'Neil-White, who earned  $872,000 in salary last year.

“On this memorable day for HealthNow, our associates and the 800,000 members we serve, I want to again thank Alphonso for his 16 years of excellent service to HealthNow and especially for his 10 years of leadership as CEO,” said Thomas J. Hook, chairman of the HealthNow board of directors, said in a statement.

HealthNow operates as BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York locally and has 800,000 members in Upstate New York, Pennsylvania and California. The insurer had estimated annual revenue in 2012 of $2.5 billion, according to the insurer.

-- Stephen T. Watson


Soft skills emphasized at Bryant & Stratton job event

By Sara DiNatale
News Business Reporter
Heather Huhman, an experienced hiring manager, views employability as a puzzle, and a college degree is only one piece of it.
It didn’t used to be that way.
The days of sending in hardcopy resumes are long gone, but in today’s changing job market, the vast majority of 18- to 34-year-olds think they have the skills, education and experience to make their way into the workforce.
Many employers disagree. About 40 percent of them say positions remain open because entry-level applicants are lacking skills, often the soft skills, needed for employment.
It’s that disconnect Bryant & Stratton College addressed in its “Job Ready or Not” Employability Summit at the college’s Orchard Park location earlier this month. The summit brought together human resource and hiring experts from Microsoft, Marriot International, Enterprise, Career Builder and Humana.
As a live-audience filled the room, people elsewhere logged on the web to watch a live-stream of the discussion, follow live-tweets and submit questions for the panel. It was the first time Bryant & Stratton partnered with its online school for a presentation that included such extensive interaction, both in person and online, said Paul C. Bahr, the college’s Western New York director.
The panel offered straight-from-the-employers insights, recommending that job seekers tailor the language in their resumes to mirror the wording of the job description for the position they’re seeking. That will help that resume stand out as employers sift through the hundreds of resumes they often receive for just a few open positions.
Heather Tinguely, a talent scout for Microsoft, noted how her company uses Twitter to attract potential employees. She said Microsoft set up a system so whenever anyone tweeted they had an interview with a Microsoft competitor, the user would receive a tweeted response offering them a Microsoft interview.
Rosemary Haefner, panel member and vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder, thought the college’s open summit served as a model to other schools and said events similar to it are “few and far between.”
“We’re all in the same game,” said Bahr, in regards to the decision to include the public as well as Bryant & Stratton students in the week’s events, which also included a job fair and employability clinics.
A video of the discussion, which aimed to help attendees and viewers be “job ready,” is available by clicking here.


HealthNow names new CEO

David W. Anderson, former CEO of a Southern California health insurer, has been named president and CEO of HealthNow New York, the parent company of BlueCross BlueShield of WNY.

Anderson, 59, was CEO of UnitedHealthcare’s (UHC) Southern California Health
Plan, based in Cypress, Calif. for the past seven years.

He was unanimously selected for the HealthNow leadership position after a
five-month search and hiring process. He starts officially July 31.

Anderson started as a health insurance  broker in 1980 after graduating
from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business with a B.S. in Finance.

A Fort Wayne, Ind , native, Anderson was senior vice president and chief sales officer of Health Net of California from 2003-06; senior vice president for PPO products at Health Net Life Insurance Co. from 2001- 03; and president of Health Net Dental and Vision Cos. in 2000-02.

Thomas J. Hook, chairman of the HealthNow board of directors, said the search involved hundreds of applicants and recruits, including internal candidates.