Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase have appointed Dr. Atul Gawande as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the trio’s non-profit, U.S. employee healthcare partnership. The role, effective July 9, will see Gawande serve from the new company’s headquarters in Boston.
Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos and Jamie Dimon – CEOs of Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon and JPMorgan respectively – announced in January that they were gearing up to target the “Ballooning costs of healthcare”, with Buffett describing it as a “Hungry tapeworm on the American economy.”
The announcement earlier this year saw shares in major U.S. healthcare providers sink as much as 10%, however the news of Gawande’s appointment has so-far had no significant impact on the market.
An influential literary figure and renowned surgeon, Gawande practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is Professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School.
His is a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine and has released four New York Times bestsellers including Complications, Better, The Checklist Manifesto and Being Mortal.
Additionally, Gawande co-founded Ariadne Labs in 2012, a centre that tackles complex problems in health care, including life-threatening errors in surgery, maternal and neonatal mortality, failures in end-of-life care, and fragmented and ineffective primary health care systems.
Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO commented, “Talent and dedication were manifest among the many professionals we interviewed. All felt that better care can be delivered and that rising costs can be checked. Jamie, Jeff and I are confident that we have found in Atul the leader who will get this important job done.”
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, said, “We said at the outset that the degree of difficulty is high and success is going to require an expert’s knowledge, a beginner’s mind, and a long-term orientation. Atul embodies all three, and we’re starting strong as we move forward in this challenging and worthwhile endeavor.”
Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, added, “As employers and as leaders, addressing healthcare is one of the most important things we can do for our employees and their families, as well as for the communities where we all work and live.”
“Together, we have the talent and resources to make things better, and it is our responsibility to do so. We’re so grateful for the countless statements of support and offers to help and participate, and we’re so fortunate to have attracted such an extraordinary leader and innovator as Atul.”
Commenting on his appointment, Gawande, said, “I’m thrilled to be named CEO of this healthcare initiative. I have devoted my public health career to building scalable solutions for better healthcare delivery that are saving lives, reducing suffering, and eliminating wasteful spending both in the US and across the world.”
“Now I have the backing of these remarkable organizations to pursue this mission with even greater impact for more than a million people, and in doing so incubate better models of care for all. This work will take time but must be done. The system is broken, and better is possible.”