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Former GE executive is named CEO of Shields Health Solutions

Lee Cooper takes over from cofounder Jack Shields, who will remain chairman of the Stoughton specialty pharmacy company

Jack Shields (left) and Lee Cooper.

Less than a year after bringing in two big outside investors, Shields Health Solutions is turning to an outsider to take over as chief executive of the specialty pharmacy company.

The Stoughton company said Tuesday that it has hired Lee Cooper, a longtime General Electric Co. executive, to succeed Jack Shields, who started the company eight years ago and will continue in an active role as chairman.

Cooper, 57, ran GE’s health care business in the United States and Canada from 2016 to mid-2019 and most recently worked as an operating partner at Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, a private equity firm. Last July, Welsh Carson and drugstore giant Walgreens each invested in Shields Health, taking a combined stake of almost 50 percent in a deal valued at $850 million to $900 million.

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In the 11 months since that deal, Shields Health has doubled revenue to $1 billion on an annual rate and is on pace to double its workforce to 1,000 by the end of the year.

Despite the growth, Shields said the company competes against much bigger pharmacy managers, including Caremark, a unit of CVS Health, Express Scripts, and OptumRx, a division of UnitedHealth Group.

“We just have to scale this up,” Shields, 58, said in an interview.

Shields Health has opened onsite pharmacy programs for nearly 40 health networks with more than 300 hospitals across the country, including UMass Memorial Medical Center and New York Presbyterian. The pharmacies focus on specialties such as oncology, neurology, rheumatology, and diabetes.

The company says it helps hospitals integrate clinical care of patients with their drug treatments, with the goal of improving care and reducing costs.

In addition to Cooper, Shields said it has beefed up its senior executive team.

  • Stephen West, most recently the company’s chief of staff, is now chief strategy officer.
  • Cindy MacLean has been appointed chief legal and compliance officer; she was previously general counsel for GE Healthcare in the United States and Canada.
  • Paul Hanlon is the new chief information officer, a post he previously held at Magellan Complete Care.
  • Bill Demianiuk has joined as chief quality assurance officer; he most recently was chief operating officer of Shields Health Care, the family-owned medical imaging company where Jack Shields was previously president.

John Lucey, who started the specialty pharmacy company with Shields, continues as president.

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Cooper said that with the company serving three times as many patients as it did 16 months ago, adding seasoned executives was necessary.

“We need as broad and as deep a bench as possible,” he said.

While it’s common for private equity investors like Welsh Carson to install their own executives, Shields said that recruiting Cooper was his idea.

“I am not going anywhere,” he said. “Lee and the others bring a whole different playbook. They have a lot of plays I haven’t seen.”



Larry Edelman can be reached at larry.edelman@globe.com. Follow him @GlobeNewsEd.