Centene CEO Neidorff to retire next year

Centene Corporation CEO Michael Neidorff will retire in 2022, the government insurance giant announced Tuesday.

Neidorff will stay on as executive chairman of the company until the end of the year, Centene said.

Alongside the retirement news, Centene announced several changes to its board of directors, which will lead the search for a new chief executive. The company has appointed five new people to its board as part of its agreement with Politan Capital Management.

Four of the new board members have been named, with the fifth to be mutually selected by Centene and Politan, the company said.

"It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to serve as CEO of Centene," Neidorff said in a statement. "Nothing has been more important to me than providing the highest quality of care to the most vulnerable populations we serve. I am deeply appreciative of our employees who have worked tirelessly and with an unwavering commitment to serving our members and partners."

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I have been in discussions with the Board about my retirement plans since the summer, and today I have informed the Board of my decision to retire as CEO in 2022," Neidorff continued.  "I am confident our company is well-positioned to ensure a smooth transition. With the value creation plan in place, the governance enhancements announced today, and our strong leadership team, I have never been more confident in the future success of this company."

Centene said its board will evaluate both internal and external candidates for the CEO role, with the help of an external search firm.

Neidorff became CEO of Centene in 1996. The insurer has grown significantly under Neidorff's years at the helm, from a $40 million corporation to a Fortune 25 publicly-traded company. Centene projects $125 billion in revenue for 2021.

With Neidorff as CEO, Centene grew its Medicaid managed care enterprise to all 50 states, becoming the country's largest managed care organization. It is also the top insurer on the Affordable Care Act's exchanges and a key player in the Medicare market.

"While it is difficult to put into words the immeasurable impact he has had on this company and the members whose health has been transformed, and the communities that have been served, on behalf of all the Board at Centene we are immensely grateful and proud of the work Michael has inspired and delivered as our CEO," Director Robert Ditmore said in a statement.