Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina said its board requested and received the resignation of Chief Executive Patrick Conway in the wake of fallout from an allegedly alcohol-related highway collision.
The insurer said its board took action because recently “new details have come to light” about the June accident and its aftermath, which the board hadn’t previously known. The new details “depict behavior that falls short of our standards,” the insurer said. “Despite Dr. Conway’s many successes during his tenure at BlueCross NC, we feel that our constituents are best served by naming an interim CEO and beginning a formal search for a permanent replacement.”
Blue Cross of North Carolina said Chief Operating Officer Gerald Petkau will be interim CEO.
The June 22 accident resulted in charges of driving while impaired and misdemeanor child abuse against Dr. Conway, who had two of his children in the car when he allegedly clipped the corner of a tractor-trailer truck while driving on the interstate.
In a statement Wednesday, Dr. Conway said he was “ashamed, embarrassed and sorry about my actions on June 22nd. I am especially sorry for the pain I have caused my family, friends and colleagues.” He said he had immediately disclosed the incident to the insurer’s board and undergone substance abuse treatment. But, he said, “I also understand that I must continue to work hard to earn back the trust I’ve lost based on my actions. I therefore am resigning my position as CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, and will continue to respect and honor the legal process.”
His resignation follows mounting criticism from state insurance regulators over the insurer’s handling of the accident and charges against Dr. Conway. The insurer publicly acknowledged the incident only after local media learned about it last week, nearly three months after it occurred.
Through early this week, the insurer’s board had backed Dr. Conway and defended its handling of the matter, but pressure on the company continued to build. On Wednesday, North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey called for Dr. Conway’s resignation and criticized the board for not disclosing the incident earlier.
The insurer said the new details that changed its board’s view emerged from “notes from the arresting officers and contents from their investigative files.” Police notes, which became public this week, said Dr. Conway had been belligerent toward officers when he was arrested, allegedly cursing at them and threatening to call the state’s governor.
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