Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase appoint CEO for healthcare venture

Atul Gawande
Atul Gawande, M.D., practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. (Amar Karodkar/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase have hired a widely recognized surgeon and best-selling author to lead their newly formed U.S. employee healthcare company. 

Public health researcher and writer of four New York Times bestsellers Atul Gawande, M.D., will begin serving as chief executive officer of the new company starting July 9, officials announced Wednesday morning. The position has been long-speculated since the creation of the healthcare company was first announced earlier this year.

The company will be headquartered in Boston and will operate as an independent entity free of profit-making incentives and constraints, officials said.

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Gawande, who is a staff writer for the New Yorker, practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. He is also founding executive director of the health systems innovation center, Ariadne Labs.

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“I have devoted my public health career to building scalable solutions for better healthcare delivery that are saving lives, reducing suffering, and eliminating wasteful spending both in the U.S. and across the world," Gawande said in a statement. "Now I have the backing of these remarkable organizations to pursue this mission with even greater impact for more than a million people, and in doing so incubate better models of care for all."

The decision was applauded by the high-profile CEOs  backing the venture, JP Morgan's leader Jamie Dimon, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezo's and Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffet. 

“We said at the outset that the degree of difficulty is high and success is going to require an expert’s knowledge, a beginner’s mind, and a long-term orientation,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. “Atul embodies all three, and we’re starting strong as we move forward in this challenging and worthwhile endeavor.” 

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