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Bernard Tysont the CEO of Kaiser Permanente, has died unexpectedly in his sleep, and the company is remembering him as an outstanding leader and visionary.
Kaiser Permanente confirmed the death of Tyson, the company’s chairman and CEO, in a statement sent to Heavy. The November 10, 2019 statement says: “It is with profound sadness that we announce that Bernard J. Tyson, Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, unexpectedly passed away early today in his sleep. On behalf of our Board of Directors, employees and physicians, we extend our deepest sympathies to Bernard’s family during this very difficult time.”
The statement called Tyson “an outstanding leader, visionary and champion for high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.” Tyson was “a tireless advocate for Kaiser Permanente, our members and the communities we serve. Most importantly, Bernard was a devoted husband, father and friend. We all will miss his tremendous presence in our lives,” Kaiser’s statement reads.
Effective immediately, the board of directors named Gregory A. Adams, Executive Vice President and Group President, as interim Chairman and CEO.
Here’s what you need to know:
Tyson Had Just Spoken at a Conference on Tech & Health Equity
Tyson’s last tweet is dated November 9, 2019. “@aboutKP we believe that #healthcare is high-tech and high-touch. Thanks, @AfroTech, for the chance to speak about how to build a better future. The road to health equity includes Oakland,” he wrote.
On November 7, he wrote on Twitter, “This Saturday I’ll be discussing technology and equity in #healthcare at @AfroTech alongside @MorganDeBaun. I think it’s amazing that we have something like this in @aboutKP’s hometown. Hope to see you there.”
“Bernard was an exceptional colleague, a passionate leader, and an honorable man. We will greatly miss him,” said board member Edward Pei, Chair of the Executive Committee and the Governance Accountability and Nominating Committee for Kaiser. “The board has full confidence in Greg Adams’ ability to lead Kaiser Permanente through this unexpected transition.”
“Terrible news! Praying for my family back home after the loss of my cousin Bernard Tyson. He was not only the CEO of Kaiser Permanente but the first black person to hold the position. Sad day today 😢,” Devon Pouncey wrote on Twitter.
“Pray for the The Tyson Family,” wrote Bernice Webb Bates in a Facebook post. “They have suffered a great and unexpected loss. Bernard Tyson their brother and Kaiser Permanente’s CEO passed away last night in his sleep. I and my husband was at Scott’s this past weekend and spoke with him. He was leaving the restaurant and as he left began to walk around and speak to friends and acquaintances. Such a noble and kind man- gone to soon!!! We are praying for The Tyson Family, especially his wife and children that God strengthen them during their hour of bereavement. Family keep them in your prayers.”
Tyson Served as the Company’s CEO Since 2013
According to his Kaiser biography, Tyson “assumed the role of chairman in January 2014 and has served as CEO since 2013. His career at Kaiser Permanente has spanned more than 34 years, and he has successfully managed all major aspects of the organization during this time, serving in roles from hospital administrator and division president to chief operating officer of the Oakland, California-based national health care organization.”
The bio reported that Bernard J. Tyson was “the chairman and CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals — known as Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s leading integrated health care providers and nonprofit health plans.”
The company describes itself as “committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.3 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers.”
Tyson Started Out as a Hospital Administrator
On his LinkedIn page, Tyson described how he served “Kaiser Permanente for over 29 years and have successfully managed all major aspects of the organization, from serving as a hospital administrator to Division President, leading Kaiser Permanente’s business in the organization’s regions beyond its California stronghold, particularly building Kaiser Permanente’s presence in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.”
He had an MBA from Golden State University and an advanced leadership certificate from Harvard.
He received many honors and awards over the years. Among them: “Top Voices 2018: Influencers 50 Most Influential People in Health Care of 2018 | Taking Corporate Health Care Local Most Influential People in Healthcare 2018 FORTUNE 34 People Who Are Changing Health Care Most Influential Healthcare Leaders TIME 100 Most Influential People in the World Most Influential Healthcare Leaders Most Influential Healthcare Leaders Most Influential Healthcare Leaders NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s 2014 National Equal Justice Award Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare Top 25 Most Influential African Americans Alumnus of the Year Freedom Fund Award.”