Walgreens-backed VillageMD hires former Centene executive as new president

Walgreens-backed primary care clinic chain VillageMD has hired a former Centene executive to run its Village Medical, Summit Health and CityMD businesses.

Jim Murray has joined the organization as VillageMD's president and chief operating officer, the company announced this week.

Murray comes to VillageMD from Centene—where he most recently served as chief operating officer and chief transformation officer—an insurer that serves more than 27.5 million managed care lives. Prior to that, Murray was the president and COO of behavioral health leader Magellan Health, which Centene acquired in 2022.

Tim Barry, CEO and chair of VillageMD, called Murray a "consummate operations leader" and said the company is tapping into his expertise to "continue to establish VillageMD as a critical part of the care delivery system" in its markets.

“We have laid important groundwork to become one of the nation’s leading care platforms by providing high-quality, compassionate care with our patients’ best interests at the center. Jim will help advance us to next level of clinical, financial and operational performance. We are committed to our mission and thrilled Jim is part of our journey," Barry said in a statement.

The move comes as ​Walgreens is gearing up for a strategic review of its business, including the role of its retail pharmacy stores and its healthcare assets such as VillageMD.

The drugstore chain invested $1 billion in VillageMD in 2020 and then sunk $5.2 billion into the primary care company in 2021, making it the majority owner with a 63% stake. But the company is now scaling back VillageMD's footprint.

The company is in the process of shuttering 160 VillageMD clinics, inclusive of the 60 clinics Walgreens said it was closing last fall. VillageMD has already exited 140 locations and has exited or already notified patients that it is exiting Florida, Indiana, Chicago, Boston, Rhode Island and Las Vegas, Walgreens CEO Tim Wentworth told investors during the company's fiscal 2024 second-quarter earnings call Thursday. 

In 2022, VillageMD bought urgent and primary care chain Summit Health-CityMD in a deal worth close to $9 billion. The combined entity is one of the largest independent provider groups in the U.S. operating more than 680 provider locations in 26 markets. 

In its fiscal 2024 second quarter, which ended Feb. 29, Walgreens reported a steep quarterly loss, reflecting a nearly $6 billion write-down in the value of its investment in VillageMD.

Murray’s healthcare experience extends into managed care and the delivery side of healthcare. Prior to Centene and Magellan, Murray held executive roles at Humana for 28 years, most recently as executive vice president and COO. During his tenure at Humana, Murray was responsible for Medicare, Medicaid, commercial and Tricare along with launching Humana’s care delivery businesses. During Murray’s tenure, he helped Humana become a national organization that serves more than 17 million Americans.

“VillageMD is on an exciting trajectory to transform healthcare and I’m looking forward to working with the innovative teams dedicated to helping patients live longer and healthier lives in the communities Village serves,” Murray said in a statement.