Former interim US senator William “Mo” Cowan is leaving General Electric to take a job in October at Devoted Health, a fast-growing provider of Medicare services located in Waltham.
Cowan is one of the most well-known executives in the company’s Boston headquarters among local civic and business leaders, and he’s also one of the state’s most prominent Black corporate executives. He will become chief legal and external affairs officer at Devoted Health, a Medicare Advantage provider founded four years ago by brothers Ed and Todd Park.
Ed Park, Devoted Health’s chief executive, announced Cowan’s hiring with a LinkedIn post on Tuesday.
“With leadership experience at every level of government, and across the public and private sectors, it’s fair to say that Mo knows the policy landscape inside and out,” Park wrote. “More than that, he shares our passion and our values; always putting service to others first.”
Cowan said in an interview that he’s excited about the challenges and possibilities that come with the new role. Devoted Health, a venture capital-backed firm with about 1,000 employees, aims to use technology to improve health care outcomes for seniors who receive Medicare insurance coverage from the federal government. The company, which generated nearly $230 million in revenue in 2020, is based in the Watch Factory complex.
Membership in Devoted Health’s Medicare Advantage plan more than doubled in the first half of this year from the same time in 2020, to nearly 40,000 people across four states. The hope eventually is to make Devoted Health a nationwide provider.
Cowan said he’s been a fan of the Parks since when they helped build Watertown-based athenahealth into a major health IT player. Todd Park cofounded athena with Jonathan Bush, while Ed was a former chief operating officer there. Other former athenahealth executives at Devoted Health include Leslie Brunner, the chief people officer, and Jeremy Delinsky, the chief operating officer.
“It was just an opportunity that was too good to say ‘no’ to,” Cowan said of his new job, which he begins on Oct. 4. “It’s a company founded on a simple concept . . . based on how do we provide the best care for that part of the population who need it the most and often don’t get it.”
Cowan was an attorney at law firm Mintz Levin before joining the administration of then-Governor Deval Patrick, first as legal counsel and then as chief of staff. Patrick appointed him interim US senator in 2013, taking over when John Kerry was named secretary of state. Cowan served in the Senate for about six months, until Ed Markey took over after winning the special election for the seat.
Cowan went back to Mintz Levin to work for its lobbying arm, ML Strategies, eventually as its chief executive. It was there that Cowan got to know GE, a key client. Cowan helped engineer GE’s headquarters relocation from Connecticut to Boston in 2016, then joined the company as a vice president in 2017. He later became GE’s president of global government affairs and policy, and also took on the role of point person for development and operations for the Boston headquarters after Ann Klee left in 2019.
GE has changed dramatically since Cowan first joined, shedding several important divisions, in part to focus the company’s operations and to capitalize on the growing demand for green energy.
Cowan’s duties at GE will be split among Del Renigar and Lisa Wolski — executives in the company’s Washington office, who will lead global government affairs for GE, at least on an interim basis — and Jim McGaugh, head of US state government affairs. McGaugh will take over Cowan’s Boston headquarters responsibilities.
“I was very proud of playing a role in bringing GE to Boston, and continued to see it prosper and transform,” Cowan said. “GE is as important a company as it’s ever been, particularly as you look at the [clean] energy transition.”