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Humana, one of Louisville’s top employers, to get new CEO

red stethoscope
Humana's new CEO will lead a company that's recently been focused on health care services and government-funded health insurance.

Humana CEO Bruce Broussard will step down late next year. Jim Rechtin, president and CEO of Envision Healthcare, which provides hospitals with clinicians, will take over the Louisville-based Fortune 500 company.

The leadership change could signal changes for one of the city’s most prominent corporations, with the possibility that Humana’s chief executive may not be based in Louisville in the future.

Broussard, who has led the company for more than a decade as president and CEO, claimed Florida residency last year, according to a WDRB report.

He plans to remain with the company as a strategic advisor into 2025.

During his tenure, Humana has strengthened its focus on health care services and government-funded health insurance through Medicare and Medicaid. The company began rebranding its health care offerings as CenterWell in 2021, and last February announced it would stop providing employer-based coverage by 2025.

Kurt Hilzinger, chairman of Humana’s board of directors, said Broussard grew Humana’s Medicare Advantage membership and helped create CenterWell based on “his passion for our customers and vision for evolving health insurance and integrating health care delivery,” according to the press release.

Broussard also commended Rechtin, his upcoming CEO successor, in the release.

“Jim has worked closely with clinicians in many different care settings. That experience will help support our growing clinical footprint and continuing evolution as a health care company,” Broussard said.

In January, before he steps into the top role, Rechtin will become Humana’s president and COO, according to a press release.

Rechtin, who did not respond to a request for an interview, has served as CEO for the Nashville-based Envision Healthcare since 2020. In May the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to reorganize its debts, and said earlier this month that a bankruptcy court had approved its debt repayment plan.

Mark Taylor, Humana’s director of corporate communications, said in an email that the company’s board of directors reviewed the bankruptcy but had “high confidence” in Rechtin’s leadership.

“Jim joined Envision at a challenging time, but sharpened invaluable skills in navigating the company through complex issues that predated his tenure as CEO,” Taylor said.

Taylor added that Rechtin is from Covington, Kentucky.

An 'evolving' presence

Humana has more than 10,000 employees who live and work in the Louisville area, according to Taylor. He said Louisville has more Humana workers than any other American city.

But the company has also reduced its office space in recent years. Commercial real estate company CBRE reported this month that Humana has let go of more than 1 million square feet of building space in Louisville since 2017.

Taylor said the company, like other employers, is giving current and future workers “more flexible work styles” to help them live where they prefer.

“This has resulted in an opportunity to optimize our leased real estate portfolio based on the evolving needs for work space for our associates,” Taylor said.

He added the company has invested in upgrading its Humana Tower and Waterside buildings in downtown Louisville.

Humana’s leaders are also known for participating in local business development, such as by serving in executive positions on Greater Louisville Inc., the area’s chamber of commerce.

Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, GLI’s president and CEO, said the chamber has been talking with Humana as Rechtin plans to relocate.

His offer letter requires him to move to either Louisville or Washington D.C. by the end of next year. Louisville is Humana’s headquarters, and the company also has office space in the nation’s capital.

“We're confident that Jim, who is a Kentucky native, will continue to prioritize the company's commitment to Louisville,” Davasher-Wisdom said.

She noted that large local companies not only provide jobs for the region, they can also attract other organizations.

“We know that other businesses will actually move to the region to do business with some of the larger employers like Humana, UPS, [Yum! Brands, and] Ford,” Davasher-Wisdom said.

The company also operates a philanthropic arm called the Humana Foundation. One of its most recent investments in Louisville is a partnership with GLI to offer grants to mental health providers for expanding their services.

Davasher-Wisdom said the grant recipients will be announced next month.

Jacob is LPM's Business and Development Reporter. Email Jacob at jmunoz@lpm.org.

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