CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has elevated Karen Ward to senior vice president and chief human resources officer.

In this new role, Ward is responsible for properties and corporate services, in addition to human resources functions across all lines of business for the company, which employs 5,400 workers across the state.

“Karen is a proven leader whose expertise and concern for our employees make her superbly suited to manage the talent within our organization and harness those resources to the benefit of our members,” said Vicky Gregg, CEO for BlueCross.

Ward joined BlueCross BlueShield of Memphis in 1983, where she held primary responsibility for payroll and human resources. When the Memphis plan merged with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee in 1998, she provided leadership for the integration and managed numerous corporate responsibilities including policies, communications and diversity initiatives.

Later, she served the company as director of business consulting for BlueCross. In that role, she managed a team of HR professionals who provided strategic consulting and performance management, as well as program and policy development for internal client groups. In 2010, Ward was promoted to vice president of human resources, overseeing organizational development, compensation, benefits, talent acquisition and training.

Ward has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Middle Tennessee State University and is designated as a Senior Professional in Human Resources from the National Society of Human Resources accreditation body.

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at