Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, died unexpectedly in his sleep, the Oakland, California-based health insurer reports. He was 60 years old.
Tyson assumed the role of CEO in 2013, and was named chairman of the board of directors in 2014.
“On behalf of our Board of Directors, employees, and physicians, we extend our deepest sympathies to Bernard’s family during this very difficult time,” a Kaiser press release reads. “An outstanding leader, visionary, and champion for high-quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans, Bernard was a tireless advocate for Kaiser Permanente, our members, and the communities we serve. Most importantly, Bernard was a devoted husband, father, and friend. We all will miss his tremendous presence in our lives.”
Effective immediately, the Board of Directors has named Gregory A. Adams, executive vice president and group president, as interim chairman and CEO.
Tyson was born and raised in Vallejo, California, and received his bachelor’s degree in Health Service Management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. His career at Kaiser spanned more than 30 years, and he had successfully managed all major aspects of the organization during that time, serving in roles from hospital administrator and division president to chief operating officer.
In September 2019, Emad Rizk, president and CEO of Cotiviti, a leading analytics company in Atlanta, told Managed Healthcare Executive® that to be a strong leader in today’s healthcare environment, one needs courage, collaboration on a broader scale, and commitment to employees and the organization like never before. Rizk said that Tyson exemplified these traits, as he pledged to find housing for underserved people in his organization’s purview.
“He is taking on responsibility for things that health plans have never done before,” Rizk said. “He is re-examining his role, and that takes courage.”
According to a company bio, when Tyson became CEO in 2013, Kaiser Permanente had 9.1 million members, employed a workforce of 174,000, included 17,000 physicians, and generated $53 billion in annual revenue. Today the organization provides care and coverage to 12.3 million members, has a workforce of 218,000 employees, includes 23,000 physicians, and annual revenue of more than $82.8 billion.