Ronald A. Williams is the former Chairman and CEO of Aetna Inc., a leading diversified health care benefits company. He is a director of American Express, Boeing, and Johnson & Johnson, and an operating advisor to the private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. Mr. Williams is actively engaged in public service and philanthropy. He also appears frequently in the news media.
Joining Aetna in 2001, Mr. Williams focused on transforming the company’s strategy, culture, operating performance and financial results. In 2002, Mr. Williams was named President and joined Aetna’s Board. He was named CEO in February 2006 and Chairman of the Board in October 2006. In 2001, Aetna reported a net loss from continuing operations of $292 million and earnings per share loss from continuing operations of $0.46. In 2011, full year operating earnings were $2.0 billion with operating earnings per share of $5.17 producing a 12.3 percent operating EPS CAGR over the last five years. Mr. Williams served as both Chairman and CEO until November 2010 and as Chairman through April 2011. He also served as Chairman of the Aetna Foundation from 2006 to April of 2011. During Mr. William's tenure, Aetna was named FORTUNE's most admired company in the Health Care: Insurance and Managed Care category for three consecutive years. Aetna 2011 revenues were $34 billion and the firm ranked 77th on the Fortune 100 list.
Under the leadership of Mr. Williams, Aetna sought to make a positive impact on health care in America by serving as a catalyst for change, focusing the industry, public policy leaders, physicians and employers on issues aimed at increasing access and affordability, and transforming American health care into a more efficient system that delivers greater value to all Americans. He has championed specific reforms in numerous broadcast media interviews and authored or co-authored op-ed articles in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Financial Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Following his retirement from Aetna in 2011, Mr. Williams founded RW-2 Enterprises, LLC, a business advisory firm, which serves as a platform for his Private Equity, Corporate Board, consulting, speaking and philanthropic activities. Mr. Williams currently serves on the Board of Directors of American Express Company, The Boeing Company and Johnson & Johnson.
He is an operating advisor to the private equity firm, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, LLC, and serves as Chairman of the board of its portfolio company, Emergency Medical Services Corporation (EMSC), a $3.5 billion provider of facility-based physician services and medical transportation services in the U.S. Annually, EMSC provides services in approximately 14 million patient encounters in more than 2,100 communities.
He also serves on the boards of the Peterson Institute for International Economics and Save the Children. In January 2010, he co-chaired the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, "A Roadmap for a Sustainable Recovery" in Davos, Switzerland. He previously served as vice chairman of The Business Council from 2008 to 2010, vice chairman of the Health Leadership Council and chairman of the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare. He is a former member of the GE Healthymagination Advisory Committee and the Wall Street Journal CEO Council. Since 2002, he has served on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s North America Executive Board.
In March 2011, Mr. Williams was appointed to the President's Management Advisory Board, which was assembled by President Obama. The mission of the President’s Management Advisory Board is to provide the President and the President's Management Council advice and recommendations on effective strategies for the implementation of best business practices on matters related to Federal Government management and operation, with a particular focus on productivity, the application of technology, and customer service. Mr. Williams is particularly interested in developing a more efficient government operations model by bringing to the table a focus on transforming American health care into a more efficient system that delivers greater value to all Americans.
Mr. Williams lends his time and expertise to a number of organizations, such as the Business Council, Conference Board, the RAND Health Board of Advisors, the Peterson Center on Health Care, the Bipartisan Policy Center's Commission on Political Reform (CPR), and the National Academy Foundation. In 2013, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an independent, multidisciplinary policy research center founded in 1780.
Previously he served on the Board of Trustees for the Connecticut Science Center, the CEO Roundtable on Health and Healthcare Leadership Council. He also served as chairman of the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare from 2007 to 2010 and vice chairman of The Business Council from 2008 to 2010. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he served on the MIT Sloan School of Management Advisory Board.
Prior to joining Aetna, Mr. Williams was a member of the Office of the Chairman at WellPoint Health Networks Inc. where he served as Group President, and President of the company’s Blue Cross of California subsidiary. Mr. Williams joined WellPoint’s predecessor firm Blue Cross of California in 1987. Previously, Mr. Williams was co-founder of Vista Health Corp. and group marketing executive at Control Data Corp.
Mr. Williams is a graduate of Roosevelt University and holds an M.S. in Management from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.