CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Bill Gracey has taken the role of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee CEO from Vicky Gregg, who retired effective Dec. 31, 2012. The planned transition was announced last February.

Gracey began work at BlueCross in October 2010, being tapped as president and chief operating officer, after having served on the company’s board of directors. In 2012, he was named CEO-elect and worked with Gregg on assuming the company’s top position.

According to Lamar Partridge, chairman of the board for BlueCross, Gracey is the perfect leader to guide the company through significant changes brought on by federal health care reform.

“The board was impressed with the way Bill and Vicky worked together to ensure a smooth transition,” Partridge said. “Since joining senior leadership, Bill has been transforming BlueCross in ways that will allow it to thrive in a post-reform market, while bringing members the peace of mind they have enjoyed since the company was founded nearly 70 years ago.”

Gracey has assumed responsibility for all aspects of BlueCross activities, including the company’s strategic direction with the goals of successfully transitioning to full implementation of the health care reform law and addressing members’ need for affordable, quality health care coverage.

Prior to joining BlueCross as COO, Gracey spent most of his 35-year career as a leader in the health care industry in Tennessee. Most recently, he was executive vice president and COO of Nashville-based Lifepoint Hospitals, a 52-hospital system with 23,000 employees and 2,500 physicians in 17 states.

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 www.bcbst.com.