CVS Health and its CEO, Karen Lynch, made Fortune 500 history by becoming the highest-ranked company to be helmed by a female CEO. When Karen Lynch became head of CVS Health in February, not only the company’s role in the COVID-19 vaccination, push ramped up, but also its sales and revenue.
- Iron lady: The former Aetna president, who joined CVS in 2018 through its acquisition of the insurer, struck many as perfectly suited for the moment. Throughout her career at Cigna, Magellan Health Services, and Aetna, Lynch made a name for herself as someone capable of both wrangling complicated projects and handling crises. Now, four months into the job, she has overseen 20 million of the total 274 million vaccinations administered in the U.S.
- Higher goals: Lynch joined Aetna in 2012 as the executive vice president of specialty products. She became president three years later, leading the merger with CVS Health. Aetna is the country’s third-largest health insurer by membership. On the call, Lynch described her task in the broadest of strokes, “a mission to reshape healthcare as we know it by addressing every meaningful moment of health in a person’s life.”
- Record-breaking moment: From fewer than one million in 2013, CVS’s membership has grown to around 2.5 million. In the past year, Lynch has swelled its ranks at three times the industry average. Medicare Advantage now contributes well over $20 billion in annual revenue, approaching 10% of the CVS total of $242 billion in 2019.
- A rare combination: Lynch has actually won two competitions for CEO. In 2015, Aetna’s Bertolini anointed her as his successor following a two-person race with an internal candidate. Then and again now at CVS, the board clearly recognized that Lynch harbored a rare combination of data-crunching analytical skills and marketing moxie for winning customers.
- Pathbreaker : “I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to succeed Larry and lead CVS Health on the next phase of our important journey to meet America’s health care needs,” Lynch said in a statement. “I am highly confident about our company’s future and look forward to further accelerating the value we bring to all of our stakeholders”.