CareFirst taps Brian Pieninck to succeed CEO Chet Burrell

The Chicago-headquartered insurer found new leadership in a familiar face, with current COO Brian Pieninck planning to take over as president and CEO starting July 1. (Jim Frech)

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield's search for a new CEO is over, and it found a familiar face. The Maryland-based insurer announced Wednesday that Brian D. Pieninck will take over as the insurer's next president and CEO starting July 1. 

Pieninck, who currently serves as the company's chief operating officer, will replace Chet Burrell, who is set to retire on June 30. Pieninck has been the company since 2015 and was previously a member of Aetna's leadership team for almost 20 years.

“I feel honored and grateful for the opportunity to lead an organization that is such an important part of the lives of its members, the communities it serves, and the dedicated employees who work for it,” Pieninck said in a statement. 

Burrell announced his planned retirement in September 2017 with a mid-2018 effective date, giving the insurer plenty of time to search for new leadership.

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"A decade of service to the mission of CareFirst has, for me, passed quickly," Burrell said at the time. "No matter the demands, it was never 'work' to me, as I felt drawn by our organization's purpose, by our mission, by our cause." 

Prior to joining CareFirst, Burrell served in varied leadership roles in healthcare technology and consulting organizations, including Novalis, which he founded. He also held executive roles with Blue Cross Blue Shield in New York and in New York state government.