Centene unveils refresh of its Office of the CEO

Centene is rolling out a new approach to its Office of the CEO, executives said on Tuesday.

The office will be lead by CEO Sarah London, but a slate of other top executives will take on beefier roles in assisting her with managing the company's operations and setting strategy, London said on its first-quarter earnings call. The office includes London, Chief Operating Officer Brent Layton, Chief Financial Officer Drew Asher, Chief Transformation Officer Jim Murray and Magellan Health chief Ken Fasola.

Murray will take on "expanded responsibilities" beyond his current leadership of Centene's value-creation plan and Fasola will take leadership of other assets within the company outside of its health plan, London said. 

The updated structure will feel familiar to the executive team, London said, as the move sets in stone how it has functioned of late.

"This construct...formalizes the manner in which we have been operating over the last several months and represents the agenda-setting nucleus of our organization as enter the next stage of transformation and growth," she said.

Over the past year, Centene has made notable changes to its leadership structure in an effort to expand the role of rising stars within the company and position itself for future growth. For instance, last July the company rolled out a new Office of the President, which included London, Layton and the late CEO Michael Neidorff. Neidorff announced his plans to retire late last year.

London also noted that Centene has made "meaningful" progress over the quarter toward its pharmacy platform goals. Last week, it issued a request for proposal (RPF) for new pharmacy benefit management services to cover its nearly $40 billion in pharmacy spend. The RFP was released slightly ahead of schedule, London said.

Centene is boosting its guidance for the year after beating the Street in the first quarter. The insurer reported $849 million in profit for the period, a 21% jump year over year. Revenue came in at $37.2 billion, up from $30 billion—a 24% increase.

The government insurer surpassed Wall Street expectations for both profit and revenue, analysts at Zacks Investment Research said.

"Our strong first quarter performance demonstrates Centene's ability to deliver on our financial goals while continuing to make progress against our Value Creation initiatives," CEO Sarah London said in a release.

At the end of the first quarter, Centene boasted 26.2 million members across its enterprise, an increase of 1.9 million or 8% from the prior-year quarter.

Thanks to that strong first quarter, the company now expects revenue of $139.9 billion to $141.9 billion and earnings per share of $5.40 and $5.55. CFO Drew Asher said in a statement that the updated guidance reflects the insurer's "momentum."

"While it is still early in the year, we are pleased to start strong across all of our business lines," Asher said. "Our updated full year 2022 outlook reflects the Company's positive momentum as well as our refreshed expectations around the timing of Medicaid redeterminations."

This quarter's earnings report is London's first as CEO, as she was tapped to succeed longtime leader Michael Neidorff in late March. Neidorff died earlier this month at the age of 79.