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Independence Health Group announces executive leadership promotions and organizational changes

By February 28, 2023March 28th, 2023Company Updates Featured Leadership
Headshots of newly promoted Independence leadership

Clockwise from top left: Susan Larkin, Crystal Ashby, Koleen Cavanaugh, and Mike Sullivan

Independence Health Group (Independence) today announced leadership changes including the promotions of Susan Larkin to Executive Vice President and President, Core Commercial Markets; Mike Sullivan to Executive Vice President and President, Diversified Markets; and Koleen Cavanaugh to Senior Vice President of Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer. The company also announced that Crystal Ashby is now Executive Vice President, Chief People, DEI, and Communications Officer.

“Independence is fortunate to have a strong, experienced and committed executive team. Their expertise and vision, and our associates’ dedication and commitment, are the reasons Independence has earned the trust of the people in our region as both Philadelphia’s hometown insurer and a national healthcare organization. Our company is extremely well positioned to innovate, grow, and thrive as we mark 85 years serving our members, customers, and community,” said Independence President and CEO Gregory E. Deavens.

Susan Larkin joined Independence 13 years ago. During her tenure, she has held key leadership roles across the Sales and Marketing organization and has been deeply committed to developing innovative solutions and delivering an excellent experience for members, clients, and other stakeholders. She most recently served as Senior Vice President, Health Markets. In that role, Larkin leveraged her deep industry experience to drive P&L operating results across all segments by optimizing revenue opportunities and driving administrative and medical cost efficiencies. Larkin also had full accountability for delivering pharmacy services and solutions in her prior role.

Larkin has over two decades of experience producing innovative solutions in the health care industry. Over the course of her career, she established a multi-faceted regional health care consulting practice which later merged with a national benefits firm. Larkin received a bachelor of science degree in accounting with a concentration in mathematics from Widener University.

Mike Sullivan has been with Independence for eight years, serving most recently as Chief Sales Officer and President, Diversified Markets. In his tenure at Independence, Sullivan’s leadership strengthened the company’s sales and retention efforts across all fully insured and self-funded commercial segments, including large and national employers, consumers, and small- and mid-market customers.

Sullivan brought an extensive history of health care experience in both sales and leadership positions to his role with the company. Before joining Independence, Sullivan was the CEO of HM Insurance Group, CEO of United Concordia, and president of Health Markets at Highmark, Inc. Sullivan received a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Williams College.

Koleen Cavanaugh has more than thirty years of experience with Independence, having joined the company soon after graduating from Villanova University. She most recently served as Vice President of Marketing. Cavanaugh will drive innovation on the organization’s marketing team, support the company’s sales associates, and improve outcomes for members, clients, and brokers. Cavanaugh will also focus on growing the company’s strong brand in the marketplace.

In her tenure with Independence Cavanaugh has held multiple leadership roles in the Marketing organization. She played an integral role in developing and executing the company’s Affordable Care Act marketing strategy, launched Independence’s digital marketing outreach capabilities, led the development and build out of Independence’s retail center, Independence LIVE, and crafted Independence’s member experience strategy. She most recently worked with the Marketing team to create the company’s newest ad campaign, highlighting Independence’s deep Philadelphia roots and the company’s unwavering commitment to its members.

Crystal Ashby joined Independence in 2021 as Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer. Ashby will continue to lead Independence’s Human Resource division, including the organization’s people and talent strategies. With her added accountabilities, she will lead, integrate, and advance the company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, and will have continued oversight of the company’s corporate communications functions.

Prior to joining Independence, Ashby served as interim president and CEO at The Executive Leadership Council. Her career includes 22 years at BP, most recently serving as executive vice president of Government and Public Affairs and Strategic University Relationships. Prior to joining Amoco/BP, Ashby practiced as a litigation attorney. She earned a Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law and dual bachelor’s degrees in English and psychology from the University of Michigan.

“Independence’s commitment to the health and well-being of the communities that we serve is unparalleled. Together, our talented associate population and our experienced leadership team will work to ensure that our members continue to have access to affordable high quality health care,” Deavens said.

About Independence Health Group
Independence Health Group, Inc. (Independence) serves the health insurance needs of Philadelphia and Southeastern Pennsylvania through its subsidiary Independence Blue Cross — both independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.  Through its affiliates and subsidiaries, Independence operates in 27 states and the District of Columbia serving 8.3 million members nationally, including 3.5 million in Southeastern Pennsylvania.