Faculty & Departments

Finance NEWS

Capital BlueCross formalizes leadership team; Elects Lehr president and CEO

William Lehr is a 1961 graduate of the University of Notre Dame

Publication: Forbes

November 4, 2008


The Board of Directors of Capital BlueCross on Friday formalized the company's ongoing leadership team. Board Chairman William Lehr, Jr. was unanimously elected President and CEO. Mr. Lehr has been fulfilling chief executive responsibilities on an interim basis since the Sept. 15 resignation of former President and CEO Anita M. Smith. 'Bill Lehr is the ideal person to lead this company at this time,' said Kathryn P. Taylor, who was unanimously elected Friday to be the Board's First Vice Chair and its Lead Independent Director. Taylor has been a member of the Capital BlueCross Board since 2002. 'On behalf of the Board, I thank Bill for agreeing to serve in this ongoing role.' Mr. Lehr is the former Senior Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary of The Hershey Foods Corporation. He was first elected to the Capital BlueCross Board in 1988 and began his tenure as Chairman in 2004. The Board also unanimously elected Board Member Ronald J. Drnevich to be the company's Senior Executive Vice President and Vice Chairman of the Board. And Mr. Lehr appointed current Board Member and Vice Chairman, James M. Mead, to serve as Special Advisor to the President and CEO. Like Mr. Lehr, Mr. Drnevich and Mr. Mead have been serving in interim executive posts since Ms. Smith's resignation. Mr. Drnevich is the former CEO and Chairman of Gannett Fleming, Inc., an international engineering services firm. He has been on the Capital BlueCross Board since 2006. Mr. Mead was the CEO of Capital BlueCross for 19 years. He has been a member of the Board since 1984 and has been a Vice Chair since 2004. 'Ron and Jim each are world-class CEOs, and I am fortunate to have them at my side,' said Mr. Lehr. 'Ron will serve as the company's lead executive in critical areas such as business development. And Jim will be a trusted adviser to us both.' Capital BlueCross, which offers its customers national resources from deep local roots, is the No. 1 health insurer in central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley, where it has been operating since the 1930s. 'This is a company with its foot on the gas pedal,' said Mr. Lehr. 'The Board and management are united in their enthusiastic focus on sustaining and growing Capital BlueCross' momentum, and helping our customers and members to navigate challenging economic times. These are the moments when leaders lead. This company is such a leader, and so that is what it will do.' (A biography of Mr. Lehr follows. Bios of Mr. Drnevich, Mr. Mead and Ms. Taylor can be found at http://www.capbluecross.com). Capital BlueCross is an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association William Lehr, Jr. is the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Capital BlueCross. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of Capital BlueCross for 20 years, serving as its Chairman since 2004. During his tenure as Chairman, Capital BlueCross has grown to be the region's leading full service health insurer providing health security to close to one million Pennsylvanians. Mr. Lehr previously served as Senior Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer of Hershey Foods Corporation. During his 28-year career with Hershey Foods, Mr. Lehr had a range of significant responsibilities including senior management, corporate governance, law, finance, human resources and public affairs. Mr. Lehr also served as the Lead Director of Hersha Hospitality Trust, a publicly traded real estate investment trust. Mr. Lehr is a respected leader in the central Pennsylvania community and has worked with and supported many of the region's leading nonprofit organizations. Currently, he is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Lebanon Valley College, and serves on numerous Board Committees at The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, where previously he served as Chairman of the Board for nine years. He is a director and Immediate Past Chairman of Americans for the Arts' where he chairs the Audit Committee and the Investment Committee. He is Vice Chairman of the Board of the Harrisburg Symphony Association, and serves on the Capital Campaign Review Board of the Capital Region, the Advisory Boards of The University of Notre Dame's Center for Ethics and Religious Values in Business, the Concertante Musical Ensemble, and CHANNELS Food Rescue. In previous years, Mr. Lehr has served as Chairman of the Pennsylvania MILRITE Council; Chairman of the Pennsylvania HealthCare Cost Containment Council; Chairman of MetroArts of the Capital Region; Chairman and President of the Capital Division of the Pennsylvania Economy League; President of the Board of the Susquehanna Art Museum; founding director of The Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts; founding director of the Cultural Enrichment Fund and as a board member of numerous other non-profit organizations in the region. Mr. Lehr's service to the community also extends to other areas of the public sector. He is a member of the Early Childhood Learning Investment Commission and has served as a member of Gov. Ed Rendell's Arts and Culture Transition Team, as a member of the Civil Justice Reform Act Advisory Group to the United Sates District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and as Chairman of the Task Force on the Department of Labor and Industry for the Pennsylvania IMPACCT Commission. In 2003, Mr. Lehr was designated a Regional 'Mover and Shaker' by the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal, and in 2005, the Mental Health Association of the Capital Region honored him for his outstanding community service. Mr. Lehr holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from the Univerisity of Notre Dame, where he graduated cum laude, and received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He is a graduate of the Stanford Executive Program and has completed The Governing for Nonprofit Excellence course at Harvard University's Graduate School of Business Administration. Mr. Lehr lives in Palmyra, Pa. with his wife, Beverlee.

###