The new joint health venture by Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway may be the most challenging project in the healthcare industry. It seems the companies involved wanted to mirror that challenge for candidates vying to lead the project.
The companies said last week that they have selected a CEO and will announce a name soon, and a report by CNBC sheds light on just what that person had to go through to sit in the corner office.
Based on information from two anonymous sources, CNBC reported that the top ten candidates for the role had to write a white paper on how to fix the healthcare system.
“From those white papers, three people were chosen to go through a harrowing interview loop,” the report says. “First, all three talked to Dimon, who referred his two favorite picks to Buffett. Buffett’s top choice then interviewed with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who could have vetoed the pick.”
A few things stand out from these details, one being Bezos’ veto power over the process. The order of interviews — Dimon, Buffet then Bezos — also says something about the pecking order among the companies and larger-than-life business leaders driving the project.
Then there’s the white paper on fixing the healthcare system, an endeavor that would seem both vain and hubristic to many in the industry. The healthcare industry in the U.S. is giant — about one-fifth of the G.D.P. — and is only growing larger.
Although they offered scant details, the companies say the initial goal of the project is creating “technology solutions that will provide U.S. employees and their families with simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost.” Its long-term goal is “improving employee satisfaction and reducing costs.”
Unlike the retail, banking and technology industries, any innovation or new technology in healthcare must grapple with a complex web of stakeholders and government regulations. It is incredibly difficult to force change through the existing system or work around it, setting Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway — not to mention the new CEO — a challenge more immense than any white paper could summarize.
Then again, if the CEO can make it through that insane interview loop, maybe he or she stands a chance.