Kaiser Permanente names Gregory Adams CEO

Gregory Adams has replaced the late Bernard Tyson as chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, the Oakland, Calif.-based integrated not-for-profit health system announced late Tuesday.

Adams has overseen health plan and hospital operations in all eight of the system’s regions since 2016 as executive vice president and group president. He was immediately named interim CEO after Tyson unexpectedly died in his sleep about a month ago. Tyson was 60 years old.

“It is truly an honor to be named chairman and CEO of this amazing organization and follow Bernard. He was an exceptional leader who was passionate about and dedicated to Kaiser Permanente,” Adams said in prepared remarks. “Kaiser Permanente will continue to move forward together to deliver on our mission: providing high-quality, affordable healthcare services, improving the health of our members and the communities we serve, and transforming American health and healthcare.”

Adams first joined Kaiser in Southern California in 1999. He moved to Northern California in 2007 and was named regional president the following year.

Tyson, who had led Kaiser since 2013, was one of the most prominent healthcare executives in the country and a leader of healthcare reform. Under his leadership, the system’s rolls grew 32% from 9.3 million to 12.2 million members, and from $53 billion to $83 billion in annual revenue, up 56%.

Kaiser’s net income totaled $1.2 billion on in the third quarter, up 32% compared with $884 million in the third quarter of 2018, according to Modern Healthcare’s financial database.

Tyson was working on several projects as he continued his advocacy for affordable housing, highlighted by Kaiser’s $200 million investment to fight homelessness. He helped strengthen Kaiser’s whole-person model of care, indicating that Kaiser was working to integrate mental health services into its primary-care offices with a “warm-handoff” approach.

He was in the middle of contract negotiations with of the National Union of Healthcare Workers that represent 4,000 Kaiser mental health employees who are threatening to strike next week. Kaiser ratified a contract with more than 84,000 workers represented by the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions in November.

Tyson led Kaiser’s “Thrive” advertising campaign, which focuses on preventive medicine and making healthcare accessible to its members anytime, anywhere.

Kaiser said it will name its new school after Tyson. The Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine will welcome its inaugural class in Pasadena, Calif. next summer.