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Tufts and Harvard Pilgrim name new CEO

Cain Hayes.
Cain Hayes.Jen Barker Worley

The combined Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care have named a new CEO.

Cain A. Hayes will become chief executive on July 5, about six months into the merger of Tufts and Harvard Pilgrim. He will replace Tom Croswell, who previously had announced his retirement.

Hayes, 51, is the CEO of Gateway Health in Pittsburgh, a managed care company with more than 340,000 Medicaid and Medicare members. He previously held leadership roles at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and Aetna.

Tufts and Harvard Pilgrim merged in January, but little has changed for their clients or members so far. They have not altered benefits or programs and have yet even to announce a new company name. Much of that work will fall on Hayes.

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“Cain brings a wealth of experience to this role both as a proven leader and seasoned health care veteran with a distinguished track record of success,” Joyce Murphy, chair of the board of Tufts and Harvard Pilgrim, said in a press release. “His experience, values and mission-oriented leadership make him well-suited to lead the organization into the future.”

The company announced Hayes’s appointment Thursday but declined to make anyone available for interviews.

“I am thrilled about the opportunity to lead the organization to its full potential in helping shape health care to better serve our members and communities,” Hayes said in the release.

Hayes, who is Black, brings diversity to the corner office at Tufts and Harvard Pilgrim, where the CEOs in recent decades have been white men.

Tufts and Harvard Pilgrim have about 2.4 million members together and combined are the second-biggest nonprofit health insurer in the state, after Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Michael Carson, who was CEO at Harvard Pilgrim before the merger, is president of the combined company, but it’s unclear if he’ll remain in that role. The company said he and Hayes will work together to determine next steps.

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Croswell, who led Tufts Health Plan before taking over as CEO of the combined company, said he will stay in an advisory role until the end of July to ensure a smooth transition.


Priyanka Dayal McCluskey can be reached at priyanka.mccluskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @priyanka_dayal.