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Humana CEO McCallister to retire in next 12 to 18 months


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Reuters)—Humana Inc. hired a top executive from drug wholesaler McKesson Corp. to eventually become its next chief executive officer, replacing the U.S. health insurer's longtime leader, Mike McCallister.

Humana, one of the largest providers of Medicare plans for the elderly, said on Friday that Bruce Broussard, who has been CEO of McKesson Specialty Health, a McKesson subsidiary, will be president of Humana starting next month.

The company expects that Mr. McCallister, 59, will retire as chief executive officer in the next 12 to 18 months and that Broussard will become CEO at that time.

Mr. Broussard, 49, was CEO of US Oncology Inc. when McKesson bought the privately held cancer care specialist last year. Humana pointed to the fact that Mr. Broussard worked closely with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services while at US Oncology.

Mr. McCallister, who is also Humana's chairman, has presided over the company's explosive Medicare growth, spurred by government regulations that eased the nationwide expansion of privately run plans under the federal program.

Humana shares have soared 58% this year, topping the performance of its rivals, as investors and the industry warm to the growth opportunities in Medicare.

Mr. McCallister has been CEO for 11 years, making him easily the longest-tenured chief of any major health insurer. He has also worked for Humana for 37 years.

In an interview with Reuters in March, Mr. McCallister quipped, "I'm way past my sell date if you look at the average tenure," and added that he had retirement "on the horizon, but it's not in the near horizon."