Blue Shield of California Adds Leon Panetta to Board

Former CIA director Leon Panetta is back on the board of directors of Blue Shield of California.

Panetta served on the board from 2000 to 2009, when he became director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Now that he’s stepped down as secretary of defense and headed into retirement at his walnut farm in Carmel, he’s been re-elected to board at Blue Shield, effective immediately.

“It is a pleasure to return to the Blue Shield board at this most pivotal time in the history of our nation’s health care system,” Panetta said in a news release. “As a leading insurer, Blue Shield is primed to implement health care reform. I look forward to again supporting the organization.”

It’s a coup for Blue Shield to get him back. Panetta has a long history of public service, with extensive experience in Washington, D.C. and academia.

“We are honored to have Leon rejoin our board of directors,” said Blue Shield board chairman Robert Lee in a news release. “I look forward to the special brand of insight and advice that only he can provide.”

Panetta served in the Obama administration as director of the CIA from 2009 to 2011 and secretary of defense from 2011 to 2013. He stepped down from the latter job when Chuck Hagel was confirmed as his successor in March.

From 1994 until 1997, Panetta was chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton. He was a member of the House of Representatives from 1997 through 1993 and served as director of the federal Office of Management and Budget from 1993 to 1994.

Panetta previously worked as a professor of public policy at Santa Clara University and a distinguished scholar to Chancellor Charles Reed of the California State University System.

In 1997, Panetta and his wife Sylvia founded the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, a nonpartisan center run out of CSU Monterey Bay that provides a variety of study opportunities in government, politics and public policy to students throughout the CSU system.

Blue Shield is a nonprofit health plan with 3 million members, 5,000 employees and $10.5 billion in annual revenue. The San Francisco-based company has about 1,600 employees at a large office in El Dorado Hills.

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