WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 05, 2014, 01:47 PM

North Dakota Blue Cross Blue Shield fires leader

FARGO, ND - Blue Cross Blue Shield North Dakota has fired their top official.

By: Kyle Potter, INFORUM, Forum News Service

FARGO, ND - Blue Cross Blue Shield North Dakota has fired their top official.

The insurance giant fired President and Chief Executive Officer Paul von Ebers, the company announced in a statement Monday afternoon. Von Ebers had held the position since 2009. His dismissal is effective immediately.

The move comes less than a week after the company announced a dismal financial year: The Blues lost nearly $73 million in 2013, according to records submitted to the North Dakota Insurance Department. Of that, $51 million was attributed to subsidiary Noridian Healthcare Solutions, which sustained heavy losses from a con-tract to build the bungled Maryland health care exchange.

“The board felt it was necessary to make a change at the CEO position in order to ensure confidence in the future financial direction of our organization,” Ann McConn, president of the company’s board of directors, said in a statement.

The statement also said the 13-member board will not further discuss the nature of von Ebers’ termination due to “confidentiality.”

Von Ebers came to the company after more than 20 years with Blue Cross Blue Sheild divisions in Iowa and South Dakota. He took over in 2009 after public furor over a sales reward trip to a luxury resort in the Grand Cayman Islands culminated in the dismissal of then-CEO Mike Unhjem.

The company’s chief operating officer, Tim Huckle, will step up to serve as interim president and chief executive officer.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kyle Potter at (701) 241-5502