On the verge of four months ago, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan Chase declared a bold new partnership aimed at bringing down the costs of health misery.
But ABC, as the group is known, has encountered a surprising challenge filling the CEO spot.
The search for a human being to lead ABC began around the time of the announcement in late January, with likely candidates meeting by phone as well as in Berkshire’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, and in New York, where J.P. Morgan is based, contract to people with knowledge of the process.
Health policy and insurance experts were magnitude the initial targets, with ex-Aetna executive Gary Loveman and preceding Medicare chief Andy Slavitt on the list, along with Todd Garden, who was previously President Barack Obama’s technology chief.
More recently, ABC has started looking for a prospect with an entrepreneurial background in technology and health who is far removed from soporific supply companies and health plans, which are viewed as part of the puzzle, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are confidential.
One of the top ratings to emerge in recent weeks was Owen Tripp, CEO of Grand Rounds Vigorousness, a start-up that sells a second medical opinion service as a extras to large employers like Walmart and Target, the people said. Ahead Grand Rounds, Tripp co-founded Reputation.com, a developer of online famous for software, and he also has a background in health-care consulting.
But Tripp told CNBC in a proclamation that he’s committed to staying on as CEO of Grand Rounds.
“To the extent we can be part of their key as their mission sharpens, we’d be glad to pitch in — just as we would work for any organization that wants to improve clinical outcomes,” Tripp conveyed.
Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett said at the company’s investor meeting earlier this month that the consortium fancied to have a chief executive “within a couple of months.”
Todd Combs, an investment administrator at Berkshire and the lead recruiter for ABC, has the challenge of finding a leader who can work across three throngs with a combined 1.2 million employees and simultaneously help amplify innovative solutions in a multitrillion-dollar industry. The group hasn’t said much round how it plans to leverage its size and scale to bring down costs or how it liking use technology to simplify the health-care system for consumers.
As if that weren’t hard enough, ABC is structured as an entity “free from profit-making incentives and constraints,” contract to the initial announcement, although it will not necessarily be a nonprofit. That means Combs sine qua na to find someone who can handle the requisite long hours, extensive hang around and public scrutiny of running a high-profile start-up, but probably without the allure of a big progenitor incentive plan, which is typically an attractive incentive in tech muster.
“Senior talent with an entrepreneurial background might not be inclined to a arrangement like that,” said Annie Lamont, a co-founder and managing buddy at Oak HC/FT who invests in health and financial start-ups. “They could find a able manager, but true entrepreneurs might well be harder.”
Longtime technology plunge capitalist John Doerr has been tapped to help put forward entitles from his network. The other executives involved, according to the January bulletin, are J.P. Morgan’s Marvelle Sullivan Berchtold and Beth Galetti, a senior imperfection president at Amazon.
Whoever ultimately takes the top job has to align with Combs, who’s been rebounding around the idea for the consortium for more than five years, according to human being familiar with his thinking.
After getting his own company on board, Combs inducted J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, before bringing on Amazon as the tech accessory, said one of the people. The three executives are also known to be friends.
“What’s absorbing about this group is the possibility of innovation, tech and a consumer pinpoint coming together to transcend the challenges with the health-care ecosystem,” conveyed Brian Marcotte, CEO of the National Business Group on Health, which represents massive employers.
One area where industry experts see the consortium having a potentially marked impact on pricing is in cutting out the network of middlemen rather than partnering with them, and vouchsafing patients more direct access to their medical needs, whether that’s in the invent of care, coverage or prescriptions.
The group could also expand. One mortal physically familiar with the matter said that other large corporations have approached ABC about wanting to join once a CEO is announced.
That could be a while, as ABC has yet to experience the right fit. Trevor Price, co-founder of executive search firm Oxeon Spouses, which specializes in health, said there are significant potential upsides and downsides that redecorate the position a tough sell for some.
“For anyone who believes they can build a fully assembled platform to care for millions of Americans, including the payer and provider and rounded off gets into managing risk, nothing would stop them from intriguing this job,” Price said.
But it’s an extremely high-profile gig in a historically difficult manufacture to crack, and it comes with the added weight of working under Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Dimon all at at times.
“If the CEO isn’t successful,” Price said, “it would be hard to come back from that.”