Molina names Joseph Zubretsky as new CEO

More than five months after ousting its CEO and CFO, Molina Healthcare has found a new top executive.

The insurance company announced Tuesday that it has named Joseph M. Zubretsky as its new president and CEO, effective Nov. 6. 

Zubretsky most recently served as the CEO of The Hanover Insurance Group. Prior to that, he served in various senior leadership roles at Aetna, including as its CFO, as the CEO of its business unit Healthagen Holdings, and as senior executive vice president of its national businesses.

Interim CEO and CFO Joseph W. White—who filled both roles after the company’s board of directors fired J. Mario Molina, M.D., and John Molina from those respective positions in May—will remain in the role of CFO. 

The firing of the Molina brothers, whose father founded the company, sent shock waves through the insurance industry. The board of directors said it made the decision because of the company’s “disappointing financial performance,” but J. Mario Molina has suggested his political views—which he was not shy about expressing—played a role. 

The elder Molina, who remains on Molina Healthcare’s board, now is in the process of buying the assets of the company’s 17 healthcare clinics in California and rebranding them as Golden Shore Medical Group. 

RELATED: Purchase of California clinics gives ex-Molina CEO a way to ‘fulfill the mission that my father started’

When Zubretsky takes the reins at Molina, he will be in charge of a company that posted a $230 million loss in the second quarter of 2017, results that White called “disappointing and unacceptable."

To right the ship, Molina is in the midst of a restructuring process in which it is laying off 10% of its workforce and plans to reduce run-rate expenses by $300 million to $400 million. The company also announced plans to pull out of two states’ Affordable Care Act exchanges in 2018. 

At least one industry analyst thinks Zubretsky is a strong choice to lead that turnaround, given that he has considerable experience in the managed care sector. 

“We see the appointment of Joseph Zubretsky as president and CEO of Molina Healthcare as a meaningful step in the right direction for the company,” Leerink Partners analyst Ana Gupte, Ph.D., said in a research note.

As for Zubretsky, he said in a statement that he is excited to take the helm and "champion operational improvement efforts and growth initiatives" at Molina. "I believe this will ultimately translate into greater value for the customers we contract with, providers, members and our shareholders," he said.