Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina CEO resigns, interim CEO named in place

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced the immediate resignation of Patrick Conway on Wednesday night after he was charged with DWI and child abuse from a June incident in Randolph County.

In Conway's place, the Chief Operating Officer, Gerald Petkau, will act as the interim CEO immediately.

The Blue Cross NC Board of Trustees stated Conway's actions 'fell short' of the health insurance company's standards. Earlier Wednesday, state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey called for Conway to resign.

"We are confident that the transition will be smooth, and that Gerald Petkau will continue to lead the fight to improve the quality of health services, lower costs, and deliver an overall exceptional experience for our members," the Board of Trustees said.

Conway reportedly swerved out of his lane on Interstate 85 and crashed into the back of a truck. His daughters were in the vehicle with him at the time of the crash. Nobody was injured in the crash.

A letter from Blue Cross NC Board of Trustees Chairman Frank B Holding to Causey on Sept. 23 revealed that the Board of Trustees gave Conway a 30-day leave of absence to attend a substance abuse program. That leave was not announced publicly.

Read the Blue Cross NC Board of Trustees statement in its entirety here:

"Immediately following Dr. Conway's accident, the BlueCross NC Board of Trustees began reviewing and monitoring the situation, with the help of outside counsel and other experts. As a part of its work, the specially convened committee of the Board reviewed public records and officer affidavits regarding the accident and arrest. However, new details have come to light, particularly notes from the arresting officers and contents from their investigative files of which the board was unaware. Based on this, the Board of Trustees gathered today to reexamine the situation and determine a course of action.

The BlueCross NC Board of Trustees has asked Dr. Conway for his resignation. Dr. Conway accepted the request and has issued his resignation effective immediately.

As a mission-driven organization, BlueCross NC is committed to doing business with honesty, integrity and fairness. The details that recently emerged related to Dr. Conway's arrest depict behavior that falls short of our standards. Despite Dr. Conway's many successes during his tenure at BlueCross NC, we feel that our constituents are best served by naming an interim CEO and beginning a formal search for a permanent replacement.

As such, Gerald Petkau will be the interim Chief Executive Officer of BlueCross NC, effective immediately. We are confident that the transition will be smooth, and that Gerald Petkau will continue to lead the fight to improve the quality of health services, lower costs, and deliver an overall exceptional experience for our members.

We hope that this action begins to rebuild a trusting relationship with our regulators and customers."


Conway also released the following statement in response to the announcement:

"Throughout my life, I have been dedicated to one thing: helping people live longer, happier and better lives through access to affordable healthcare. Today, I am ashamed, embarrassed and sorry about my actions on June 22nd. I am especially sorry for the pain I have caused my family, friends and colleagues. I have never had an incident like this before and it is not consistent with who I am as a father, husband and community member. Following the incident, I immediately disclosed what happened to the Blue Cross North Carolina Board, stepped down from my daily duties and voluntarily and successfully completed 30 days of inpatient substance use treatment. However, I also understand that I must continue to work hard to earn back the trust I've lost based on my actions. I therefore am resigning my position as CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, and will continue to respect and honor the legal process. In time, I look forward to continuing my work ensuring everyone has access to high quality, affordable healthcare."
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