Ronald A. Williams
Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Aetna
Ronald A. Williams is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Aetna (AET), a leading diversified health-care benefits company, which was named Fortune‘s most admired company in the Health Care: Insurance and Managed Care category for three consecutive years during his tenure. Aetna 2010 revenue was $34 billion and the firm ranked 63rd on the Fortune 500 list. Mr. Williams served as both chairman and CEO of Aetna from 2006 to 2010 and solely as chairman from November 2010 to April 2011. He was also chairman of the Aetna Foundation from 2006 to April 2011.
Joining Aetna in 2001, Mr. Williams focused on transforming the company’s strategy, culture, operating performance, and financial results. In 2002 he joined the board and was named president. Mr. Williams became CEO in February 2006 and chairman of the board in October 2006. In 2001, Aetna reported a net loss from continuing operations of $292 million and earnings per share loss from continuing operations of $0.46. By 2010, full year operating earnings reached $1.5 billion with operating earnings per share of $3.68.
In March 2011, Mr. Williams was appointed to the President’s Management Advisory Board (PMAB), which was assembled by President Barack Obama. The mission of the PMAB is to advise the President and the President’s Management Council on effective strategies for implementing best business practices on matters related to federal government management and operation, with a particular focus on productivity, technology application, and customer service. He is also an adviser to the private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and serves as chairman of the board of Emergency Medical Services, a leading provider of facility-based physician services and medical transportation services in the U.S.
Mr. Williams currently serves on the board of directors of American Express (AXP), Boeing (BA), and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). He also serves on the boards of the Peterson Institute for International Economics and Save the Children. In January 2010, Mr. Williams co-chaired the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Previously he served as vice-chairman of the Business Council from 2008 to 2010, vice-chairman of the Health Leadership Council, and chairman of the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare. Since 2002 he has been a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s North American Executive Board. Mr. Williams is also an adviser to the Wall Street Journal CEO Council and the GE Healthymagination Advisory Board.
Under the leadership of Mr. Williams, Aetna sought to make a positive impact on health care in the U.S. by serving as a catalyst for change by helping public-policy leaders, physicians, and employers focus on issues aimed at increasing access and affordability, transforming domestic health care into a more efficient system that delivers greater value to all Americans. He has championed specific reforms in numerous broadcast media interviews and has authored or co-authored op-ed articles in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Financial Times, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Prior to joining Aetna, Mr. Williams served in the office of the chairman at WellPoint Health Networks (WLP), where he served as group president as well as president of the company’s Blue Cross of California subsidiary. In 1987 he joined WellPoint’s predecessor firm Blue Cross of California. Previously, Mr. Williams co-founded Vista Health and was a marketing executive at Control Data.
Mr. Williams is a graduate of Roosevelt University and holds an MS in management from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.