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HealthPartners President and CEO Mary Brainerd announces retirement;
Board of Directors names Andrea Walsh successor


March 6, 2017

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (March 6, 2017, 12:30 PM CST) – After 15 years leading the largest, consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization in the nation, HealthPartners President and CEO Mary Brainerd today announced that she will retire on June 1. Executive Vice President Andrea Walsh has been named her successor.

Under Brainerd’s leadership, HealthPartners experienced record growth and is recognized as a national leader in the health care industry. During her tenure, the organization has grown to more than 23,000 employees. This includes a care delivery system with more than 1,700 physicians, seven hospitals, 55 primary care clinics, 23 urgent care locations and numerous specialty practices in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. It also includes a large dental practice, 1.5 million members in top-rated medical and dental health plans, and the HealthPartners Institute.

Walsh has been with the HealthPartners organization since 1994 in various leadership roles including Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President & Corporate Counsel, Public & Legal Affairs. Most recently, she has had a broad range of responsibilities spanning health plan and care delivery operations with an emphasis on innovation and growth.

“HealthPartners is a strong organization today thanks to Mary’s leadership, collaborative spirit and passionate drive to improve health, to make care and coverage more affordable and to always focus on how we meet the needs of our patients, members and the community,” said Ruth Mickelsen, chair, HealthPartners Board of Directors. “Andrea will continue that tradition. She has deep experience and will capably lead HealthPartners as its next President and CEO. The organization is positioned well for the future.”

Brainerd has been with HealthPartners since 1992 and was named President and CEO in 2002. Since that time, the organization has received numerous accolades for outstanding patient care, health plan service and its charitable community work. Some of the most notable include top ratings for its care system in Minnesota Community Measurement and the American Medical Group Association’s Acclaim Award, top-rated health plan in Minnesota for quality and customer satisfaction, several Best Place to Work awards and two-time receipt of the Minnesota Business Ethics Award.

Andrea Walsh standing with Mary Brainerd

In addition, during Brainerd’s tenure, the organization developed and received endorsement by the National Quality Forum for Total Cost of Care measures. These first-of-their-kind measures are now being adopted by organizations across the country to measure and improve affordability of care.

Brainerd is often cited for her strong business acumen and unwavering commitment to a healthy and thriving community. Honors include 100 Most Influential in Health Care by Modern Health Care, Executive of the Year by Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal, induction into the Twin Cities Business Hall of Fame and the University of St. Thomas Award for Ethical Leadership.

Brainerd grew up in St. Paul and has been actively involved in the Twin Cities community for many years. She is one of the founding CEOs and former Chair of the Itasca Project, a group of 40 government, civic and business leaders addressing the issues that impact long-term economic growth, including jobs, education, transportation and economic disparities.

“I’m so privileged to have worked alongside 23,000 compassionate, caring and dedicated colleagues who focus on what matters most – helping our patients, members and the community live healthy lives,” said Brainerd. “I will miss that day-to-day connection, and I believe that our best days are yet to come. Andrea is the right leader to guide our organization into the future. She has a proven track record both inside our organization and in our community for her ability to build partnerships.”

As a member of Brainerd’s senior leadership team, Walsh has held responsibilities including creating and delivering health solutions ranging from care to health support to financing, as well as public policy and community relations. She has balanced her time between externally working with customers, partners, and the community and internally focusing on culture, patient and member experience, and strategy.

“I’ve been fortunate to work closely with Mary for much of my career,” said Walsh. “I look forward to leading HealthPartners and continuing our focus on providing the best and most affordable care and coverage for our patients, members and the community.”

Prior to joining HealthPartners, Walsh practiced law and was an assistant commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Health. Walsh has a passion for community service, and currently serves on the board of the Science Museum of Minnesota and has served on several other community boards including the Twin Cities YMCA and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

About HealthPartners

HealthPartners is the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. For more information, visit

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