These are tough times at Aetna Inc., and DavidKelso knows it. As the recently named executive vice president ofadministration, a lot of the job of rebuilding a health insurance giant that hassagged under its own weight is falling on Kelso's shoulders a fact that is notescaping anyone's notice.My priority is a broader view of the business: to pay attention to whatbusinesses we're in, which units we should be funding heavily and which weshould be paying less attention to, says Kelso, 49, who joined the Hartford,Conn.-based, $26.8 billion company last month. It's also to devisebrand-new models that allow us to excel in the marketplace.

Changing a Culture

What else can he say? But to be sure, it's a tall order for the former chieffinancial officer of Warren, N.J.-based property-and-casualty insurer ChubbCorp. Kelso has been assigned a wide if somewhat unconventional berth. Besidesbeing a member of an executive vice presidential troika that reports to AetnaChairman John Rowe, Kelso has reporting to him the company's entire finance teamincluding CFO Alan Bennett. I bring a set of skills that are differentfrom Alan's, Kelso says of his CFO. Alan is a superb CFO in a moretraditional sense, very much on top of the more traditional finance activities.Observers agree. Having been [Aetna's] controller, Bennett can handle thefinancial part, says Shellie Stoddard, a Standard & Poor's health insuranceanalyst. But maybe Aetna felt that he wasn't as strong as they would likeon the public side: communications, Wall Street. With Kelso, Stoddardsays, Aetna may have a chance to rebuild eroding investor confidence. Plus, sayanalysts, Kelso may benefit from being an outsider. It's more about tryingto change the culture, says Doug Meyer, an analyst at Fitch. One way to doit is to bring in someone new from the outside.While finance will report to him, Kelso is likely to be spending more time withRonald Williams, Aetna's executive vice president and chief of healthoperations. Kelso says he will bolster businesses with high revenue potential,shift Aetna's product mix toward less risky ventures and stress fee-basedbusinesses that soak up less capital and have a higher return on equity.

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