JPM21: Cigna's Cordani says recent slew of executive moves have had positive 'cascading effects' on other leaders

A sign at the front of Cigna's headquarters
Cigna CEO David Cordani spoke at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Tuesday. (Cigna)

Cigna CEO David Cordani said a series of recent executive moves put a spotlight on the company's focus on growth.

In early December, the insurer unveiled a slew of updates to its executive team, with chief financial officer Eric Palmer moving to the position of chief operating officer and president of the Evernorth subsidiary.

Brian Evanko, who served in a number of roles across the enterprise and most recently as president of the company's government business, will step into the position of executive vice president and chief financial officer, Cigna said.

Cordani said during the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Tuesday that Cigna has a "long history of growing and developing talent" in-house that's reflected in these changes.

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He said Palmer's shift to Evernorth is "a reinforcement of the phenomenal growth opportunity we see in front of us."

Other changes that Cigna announced include promoting Matt Manders to take on an expanded role with oversight of the government business and promoting Amy Bricker to the president of Express Scripts. 

Everett Neville will become executive vice president of strategy and business development, and Aparna Abburi, president of Medicare, will also oversee supplemental benefits and government pharmacy.

Cordani said the changes have had a "cascading effect" on other leaders who can now take on additional responsibilities and personal growth opportunities.

"It’s on strategy, it’s exciting. It’s well-received in the organization and positions us for another run of very attractive growth within the franchise," Cordani said.

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One of the key areas of growth of late within Cigna is Medicare Advantage, where the insurer is rapidly expanding with the goal of reaching 50% of the Medicare population with its plans in the next five years.

When it embarked on this growth plan, Cigna's MA plans reached about 18% of the MA market. The company aims to grow its share by 10% to 15% each year over the next several years.

Cordani said the company achieved its growth goals for the 2021 plan year and already has charted a course for 2022 and 2023. 

He added that the insurer will have more to share about its growth plans at its upcoming investor day, scheduled for early March.