Leonard D. Schaeffer

Advisory Board Chair, USC Schaeffer Center
Judge Robert Maclay Widney Chair, University of Southern California
Founding Chair and CEO, WellPoint

Leonard D. Schaeffer's Bio

Leonard D. Schaeffer is the founding chair and CEO of WellPoint (now Anthem), the nation's largest health benefits company by membership. He is the Judge Robert Maclay Widney Chair at the University of Southern California and a senior advisor to a private equity firm.

Schaeffer was chair and CEO of WellPoint from 1992 through 2004 and continued as chair through 2005. In 1986, he was recruited to be CEO of WellPoint’s predecessor company, Blue Cross of California, when it was near bankruptcy. He managed the turnaround of Blue Cross and the IPO creating WellPoint. During his tenure as CEO, WellPoint completed 17 acquisitions and endowed four charitable foundations with assets of more than $6 billion. Under his leadership, the value of the company grew from $11 million to more than $49 billion. During his tenure, WellPoint was selected by Fortune as America’s Most Admired Health Care Company for six consecutive years; named by BusinessWeek as one of the 50 best-performing public companies for three consecutive years; and identified by Forbes as America’s best large health insurance company. Schaeffer was selected by BusinessWeek as one of the Top 25 Managers of the Year and by Worth as one of the “50 Best CEOs in America.”

Schaeffer’s public service included appointments as administrator of the federal Health Care Financing Administration (now the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) where he was responsible for the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs; assistant secretary for management and budget of the federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare; director of the Bureau of the Budget for the state of Illinois; chair of the Illinois Capital Development Board; and deputy director of the Illinois Department of Mental Health.

In 2009, Schaeffer established the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics, which uses an interdisciplinary approach to research and analysis to promote health and value in healthcare delivery and to support evidence-based health policy. He has endowed chairs in healthcare financing and policy at the Brookings Institution, Harvard Medical School, the National Academy of Medicine, the University of California, Berkeley, and USC.

Previously, Schaeffer served as president and CEO of Group Health Inc., executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Student Loan Marketing Association (Sallie Mae) and as a vice president of Citibank.

Schaeffer is a graduate of Princeton University and was the Regent’s Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, a Gilbert Fellow at Princeton and a Williams Fellow at RAND. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and chair of the Roundtable on Quality Care for People with Serious Illness. He was awarded a doctor of humane letters (hon) from USC and received the inaugural Sol Price Award for his lifetime achievements as a business leader, policy expert and philanthropist.

He currently serves on the following boards of trustees: Brewster Foundation (chair), Brookings Institution, RAND Corporation and USC. He is a member of the editorial board of Health Affairs and the boards of Harvard Medical School, RAND Health, scPharmaceuticals and USC Health System.

Recent Work