The National Business Group on Health announced Monday that Helen Darling, its president and CEO of a dozen years, will be retiring at the end of next April. Brian Marcotte, currently vice president of compensation and benefits at Honeywell, will replace Darling effective May 1, 2014, according to NBGH.
A former congressional staffer and principal at William W. Mercer, Darling led the purchasing of health and disability benefits for Xerox and served as practice leader for Watson Wyatt Worldwide. In 2001 she took the reins of NBGH, a nonprofit coalition dedicated to representing employers’ perspectives on national health policy issues. “During her tenure,” the group said in a written statement, “she has emerged as one of the nation’s foremost authorities and a leading voice on employer-sponsored health care benefits and the U.S. health care system.”
Darling’s accolades include the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s 2012 Health Quality Leader Award and being named one of Modern Healthcare’s “100 Most Influential People in Health Care” for the past three years.
“I have had the privilege of being in health care and health policy for more than 30 years and helped shape employers’ responses to their many challenges,” Darling says. “It has been a thrill to work with so many iconic, creative companies, including in the past three years, during which we have seen tectonic changes. I am very proud of the 377 members we serve and the great leadership team that we have assembled. I love this business, but I’m ready to retire from such an intense full-time job. I am especially happy that we were able to hire Brian, knowing that he will take the organization to the next level in a different world. He will be an outstanding leader for us.”
Pamela Kimmet, chair of the board of directors for NBGH, says Darling “has been an outstanding leader” and that the group is richer for her “influential and innovative” leadership.
“Helen is a true visionary and under her leadership for the past 12 years, the Business Group has been transformed into a major force shaping health care policy and practices for its member companies,” Kimmet says. “The Board would like to thank Helen for her years of dedication to the Business Group and for the many contributions that she has made to the organization and its members.”
Marcotte joins NBGH after two decades with Honeywell, where he oversees the benefits and rewards of 135,000 employees in 100 countries. In a 2013 Towers Watson study of 830 employers, Honeywell’s medical plan ranked in the top 10% for medical efficiency. “Brian is the ideal person to take the helm during this exiting and transformative time,” Kimmet says, noting that Darling will stay on in an advisory capacity until the end of next year.
“Brian has a deep understanding of the health care issues and policy considerations that are important to our members and large employers in general,” she says. “His vision and financial and operating acumen make him the ideal CEO to lead our organization in the coming years. The board is also very pleased that Helen will remain as a senior adviser as part of our long planned and seamless transition process.”
For his part, Marcotte says he’s grateful for his 20 years with Honeywell and he sees his time there as lending “deep business experience” to NBGH and its long-term goals.
“I care deeply about health care and health policy, and can now turn my attention to those issues full time,” he says. “I am honored to succeed Helen and look forward to leading the Business Group to help its members navigate the ever changing health care landscape with world-class solutions, superior member services and meaningful public policies.”
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