The longtime chairman and chief executive of Kaiser Permanente, George Halvorson, said he plans to retire in December 2013 and the nonprofit health system is searching for a new leader.
Halvorson, 65, helped build the Oakland company into the nation's largest nonprofit health plan and hospital system with more than 9 million customers and nearly $50 billion in annual revenue.
After taking the helm in 2002, Halvorson spearheaded the decision to invest in Kaiser's industry-leading electronic medical record system.
"What we have done is a totally electronic, paper-free environment where data is flowing freely from doctor to doctor and to the patient. We have gotten there and it works," Halvorson said in an interview.
Kaiser has also continued to receive high marks from outside groups on patient safety, healthcare quality and member satisfaction.
"I'm really happy with what we've achieved and it's time to hand that over to someone else," Halvorson said.
Halvorson said he announced his departure more than a year in advance to give Kaiser's board time to deliberate on a successor. He said he will advise the board, but he won't take part in the actual selection.