Name: Susan Smith
Previous title: SVP, Centene
New title: Chief operating officer, Centene
Centene has appointed Susan Smith as its COO effective Jan. 1, 2024. As COO, Smith will be responsible for Centene’s core business operations, along with the payer’s enterprise transformation office and population health, provider experience and quality initiatives, according to the payer.
Following major leadership changes last year, Centene has had trouble nailing down a long-term executive as COO.
In December, the insurer named Jim Murray to the post, succeeding former COO Brent Layton after Layton began transitioning toward retirement. Then in May, Murray said he planned to retire in 2024. A handful of other executives picked up Murray’s duties — including Layton, according to his LinkedIn.
Now, Smith is stepping into the role. She has been at Centene since June 2023 overseeing quality, clinical strategy, analytics and product development, among other priorities.
Prior to joining the St. Louis-based payer, Smith spent almost two decades at competitor Humana. At Humana, Smith helped to improve the insurer’s Medicare Advantage star ratings and designed Medicaid operations, according to Centene.
Centene provides government-sponsored plans in MA and Medicaid, along with plans in commercial programs. The insurer has struggled this year amid headwinds from Medicaid redeterminations and MA star ratings and laid off 3% of its workforce in September. However, Centene raised its 2023 outlook following third-quarter results last month following lower medical spending.