CCO, CVS Health
When CVS Health acquired Aetna last year for $70 billion, the newly combined healthcare and insurance company quickly named Aetna’s Kathryn Metcalfe as CCO. The Deloitte, Pfizer, Novartis and Cohn & Wolfe alumna now oversees a largely U.S.-based team of around 100 PR pros in three locations: New York, Hartford and Woonsocket, Rhode Island.
Metcalfe’s team philosophy is to prioritize strategic business thinking over short-term tactical communications activations. She then wants PR agencies with great ideas to provide smart support on a local basis.
CVS demonstrated its purpose-based philosophy in action in 2014 when it became the first national retail pharmacy chain to stop selling tobacco products in all its stores, saying goodbye to up to $2 billion in annual cigarette sales.
The anti-tobacco initiative is ongoing and remains key to CVS’ long-term reputational positioning and commitment to authentic purpose, even if there is a short-term cost to the bottom line of the business.
After being inducted into PRWeek’s Hall of Femme this year, Metcalfe said: “It takes a strong woman to make it to the top in our industry, and I’ve learned we can’t do it alone. It’s not about the she in me, but the she in we.”