Why COO hire is a 'bold statement' for Amazon-JPMorgan-Berkshire venture

The Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase health venture appointed a second individual to its executive team Sept. 4.

The venture hired Jack Stoddard, a former Comcast executive, to serve as COO. Mr. Stoddard previously held roles at Optum — a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group — and consumer healthcare engagement firm Accolade.

Ana Gupte, an analyst at investment banking firm Leerink Partners, told TheStreet Sept. 5 that Mr. Stoddard's appointment represents a "bold statement" for the joint health venture.

Ms. Gupte said the venture's decision to hire Mr. Stoddard represents "its commitment to upending the way consumers access healthcare in an increasing digital ecosystem. We believe the Stoddard hire clearly shows that [the venture] is looking to own the digital front door to healthcare."

Mr. Stoddard's experience at Comcast will prove vital, she added, as Comcast "has been at the forefront of health insurance innovation."

"Instead of pushing the financial burden to employees via high-deductible health plans (as nearly 50 percent of large employers have), Comcast has focused on lowering costs by partnering with innovative tech-enabled companies to improve employee engagement, care management and telehealth," Ms. Gupte said.

The first executive hired to the joint venture was Atul Gawande, MD, a public health researcher, writer and Boston-based Brigham and Women's surgeon, in July. Dr. Gawande serves as the organization's CEO.

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