Earlier this year, news that legendary investor and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A) Chief Executive Officer Warren Buffett was teaming up with Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon to form a joint health care initiative, shook the industry, which has long been criticized for its inefficiency and high costs burdening Americans and their employers. (See also: Insurers Hit By Bezos-Buffett-Dimon Announcement.)
ABC, as the group is known, has been ramping up its search in the recent months to find a leader for the bold partnership, intending to operate "free from profit-making incentives and constraints." The executive would be tasked with working across three companies with a combined 1.2 million employees and head the development of innovative solutions for the multi-trillion-dollar industry, with the main goal of bringing down costs and simplifying solutions for consumers.
According to a report by CNBC, the powerhouse of business moguls has found it surprisingly difficult to pick a CEO. Since the announcement of the alliance in late January, potential candidates have been talked to over the phone, as well as in Omaha, Nebraska, where Berkshire is headquartered, and in JPMorgan's home city of New York.
ABC Shifts CEO Search to Entrepreneurs
Initially, the group was targeting health policy and insurance experts, according to CNBC, interviewing candidates such as former Aetna Inc. (AET) executive Gary Loveman, President Obama's technology chief Todd Park and ex-Medicare Chief Andy Slavitt. Recently, however, the venture has been weighing candidates with more entrepreneurial backgrounds, who are far removed from the drug supply companies and health plans. One such prospect was Owen Tripp, a serial entrepreneur and the CEO of the startup Grand Rounds Health, which sells medical opinion services as a benefit to large employers. Tripp is committed to staying on at the helm of Grand Rounds, according to CNBC.
ABC may find difficulty in bringing on senior talent with a startup background, noted Annie Lamont of Oak Investment Partners, as cited by CNBC. She indicated that alongside the pressures of leading a high-profile startup, the executive would probably not be offered a major stock incentive plan, typically a key element in tech recruiting.
That being said, if the CEO is successful in leading the consortium aiming to completely disrupt the health care space by means such as cutting out the middleman and giving patients more direct access to medical needs, the opportunity could be massive for expansion. Plus, the candidate would work alongside three of the most revered leaders in the global business landscape. (See also: Health Insurance: New Front in Walmart Vs. Amazon?)