Health Insurer Anthem Nabs New Legal Chief as Pandemic Surges

Nov. 19, 2020, 12:10 AM

Anthem Inc., one of the largest U.S. health insurers, announced Wednesday it hired Chief Legal Officer Blair Todt from the same role at rival Health Care Service Corp.

Indianapolis-based Anthem said Todt will join the company Nov. 30 and oversee a wide portfolio that includes legal strategy, compliance, litigation, regulation, public affairs, and corporate governance.

As a member of Anthem’s executive leadership team, Todt will report to president and CEO Gail Boudreaux, who in a statement praised him for his expertise in the health insurance sector.

“Blair brings an extensive health care background together with broad legal, strategic planning, compliance, and regulatory experience,” Boudreaux said.

Todt didn’t respond to a request for comment about his new role. The appointment comes as Anthem copes with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and lingering litigation related to the 2017 collapse of a proposed $54 billion merger with Cigna Corp.

In August, a Delaware judge rebuffed a request by both insurers to collect damages from that ill-fated union. White & Case and Delaware’s Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell are advising Anthem in the Delaware litigation, with Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and local law firm Ross Aronstam & Moritz representing Cigna.

Anthem, which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurance plans in more than a dozen U.S. states, announced in June that it would provide $2.5 billion in Covid-19 assistance to the customers and communities it serves. Anthem and other health insurers are covering some of the costs for coronavirus treatments like remdesivir as the world waits for a vaccine.

Todt takes over at Anthem from General Counsel Thomas Zielinski, who the insurer said will retire Dec. 31. Zielinski, a former health care litigation partner at Cozen O’Connor and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, joined Anthem in 2014 when the insurer was known as WellPoint Inc.

After taking over at Anthem, Zielinski turned to Hogan Lovells to help the company handle a massive breach of medical data. Anthem agreed to a $115 million class action settlement in 2017, paid another $16 million regulatory penalty in 2018, and in September finalized a nearly $40 million deal with several states.

Zielinski didn’t return a request for comment about his pending retirement. Bloomberg data shows that he currently owns nearly $6 million in Anthem stock. He was not among the insurer’s top five highest-paid executives in 2019, according to a proxy statement filed by Anthem for that year.

HCSC, Todt’s former employer, announced Sept. 22 its promotion of Catherine Nelson to replace him as chief legal officer for the Chicago-based health insurer.

Todt, a former partner at Albany, N.Y.-based Carter, Conboy, Case, Blackmore, Maloney & Laird, which closed its doors last December, joined HCSC in 2016 after spending a half-dozen years as legal chief for WellCare Health Plans Inc.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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