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Wellpoint fires head of consumer business
Feb 8 (Reuters) - WellPoint Inc, the No. 2 U.S. health insurer by market value, terminated the services of its consumer business Chief Executive Brian Sassi, according to the company's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.
WellPoint had warned in July that surprisingly high claims from a Medicare plan in California would impact earnings in 2011. And when it announced fourth-quarter results, WellPoint said its consumer business segment was hurt by high claims in its Medicare plans for the elderly.
On Wednesday, the company did not provide a reason for terminating the services of Sassi.
However, Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Chris Rigg said in a note to clients that after speaking with the company he was left with the impression that Sassi's termination was due to "multiple years of underperformance in the division."
"While management turnover has been an issue for the company in recent years, we do not believe the announcement signals 2012 EPS guidance is at risk," Rigg added.
Wellpoint said in the filing that Sassi will remain employed until the early part of March 2012 to assist in the transition of his duties.
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