Health Giant Anthem Hires Former Whirlpool Executive to Oversee Marketing Efforts

Bill Beck was an Adweek Brand Genius in 2017

Anthem serves more than 78 million through its affiliated companies. Getty Images, Anthem
Headshot of Patrick Coffee

Anthem Health, the nation’s second-largest insurance provider by both membership and revenue, has a new chief marketing officer.

A company spokesperson confirmed on Monday night that the Indianapolis, Indiana-based company recently hired Bill Beck to fill the position. She declined to comment or make Mr. Beck available for interview.

The marketing chief succeeds Patrick Blair, a former Deloitte executive who joined Anthem in 2013 and held the roles of chief marketing and consumer officer and svp, commercial business segments and enterprise CMO. Blair clarified that he had previously overseen both marketing and “a number of our commercial business segments” but would now focus on the latter with Beck on board.

The new appointment marks an unconventional transition, as Beck was formerly vp and general manager of the North American Kitchen business and vp of brand marketing at Whirlpool. While there, his surprising moves into VR and work on the Care Counts child charity campaign earned him a spot on Adweek’s 2017 Brand Genius roster.

That effort, by agency Digitas, also won our Project Isaac award for that year and scored a Grand Prix in the Data category at Cannes Lions. In the project, Whirlpool placed free washers and dryers in area high schools, then collected follow-up data to determine whether having clean clothes would encourage kids to improve their attendance records. (It did.)

Anthem, formerly known as WellPoint, is the largest member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association encompassing dozens of insurance organizations that collectively serve more than one hundred million Americans. It is the product of several mergers, and according to Becker’s Hospital Review, it currently has more than 40 million customers, trailing industry leader UnitedHealth by 9.5 million.

The health insurance space is intensely competitive, and Anthem beat revenue expectations in last month’s quarterly earnings call thanks, in large part, to growing membership in its government-funded Medicaid and Medicare programs. Both UnitedHealth and Anthem are also currently bidding to acquire managed health company Magellan.

According to Kantar Media, Anthem Health spent nearly $54 million on paid media last year, a significant increase over its $36 million total for 2017.

Beck spent a decade with snack maker Pepperidge Farm before joining Whirlpool in 2010, according to his LinkedIn profile.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.