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Health Systems Appoints New President


Health Systems International, which suffered a rash of executive suite defections during its failed merger with WellPoint Health Networks, has named investment banker Jay Gellert as its new president and chief operating officer, effective June 3.

The Woodland Hills-based managed-care company said Gellert's appointment is the first in a series of top-level executive jobs that will be filled during the next several weeks.

Gellert, 42, is a principal in the San Francisco office of Shattuck Hammond Partners Inc., a New York-based investment firm specializing in the health-care industry. Gellert's firm acted as a financial advisor to Health Systems during its aborted merger with WellPoint, a large managed-care firm also headquartered in Woodland Hils.

Malik M. Hasan, chairman and chief executive, said Gellert's arrival will "permit me to focus my energies more intensively" on mergers and acquisitions and medical management issues.

Gellert, a Stanford University graduate, was also named chairman of the company's two principal subsidiaries, Health Net and QualMed, both HMOs.

He is a former chief executive of Bay Pacific Health Corp., a Northern California HMO that was sold about the time he left. Before that, he was a senior executive with a Northern California hospital company.

Michael Gallagher, who has been acting chairman and chief executive of Health Net, has resigned those posts to return to his investment banking company. He will continue as a director of Health Systems.

Health Systems expects to name a new chief financial officer and top executives for its Health Net and QualMed units "within the next couple weeks," spokesman David Olson said.

The appointments will help fill vacancies created by the departures of several key executives during the prolonged merger talks with WellPoint. Among those who left were Roger F. Greaves, a Health Net co-founder who had shared the chairman and chief executive job with Hasan.

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