Angela Braly, Chairman, President and CEO
Profile: Angela Braly was born in Dallas, Texas, on July 1, 1961. The 50-year-old Braly earned a bachelor’s degree at Texas Tech and her juris doctor degree from Southern Methodist University. She was appointed CEO of WellPoint (NYSE:WLP) on June 1, 2007.
The Story: In the era of health-care reform, it’s not easy being the head of a health-insurance company. And Angela Braly has taken more than her share of lumps. Huffington Post writer Jamie Court recently labeled Braly the “Marie Antoinette of Health Insurance,” arguing that “it’s high time to dethrone Braly and all the other health-insurance monarchs.”
Braly is tough enough to take the criticism and keep moving forward. She started her professional career as a lawyer in private practice with Lewis, Rice & Fingersh in St. Louis. She joined RightChoice Managed Care as general counsel in 1999, becoming part of WellPoint after the companies merged in 2001. At WellPoint she managed the nation’s largest Medicare claims-processing business and the federal employee health-benefits business.
Braly’s diverse skill set — lawyer, public affairs officer and health-insurance executive — has been a boon for WellPoint, particularly when President Obama in 2010 repeated allegations that the company was “systematically dropping the coverage of women with breast cancer.”
Firing back a terse letter, Braly wrote: “Despite your claims, WellPoint does not single out women with breast cancer for rescission.”