In Good Company, Aetna, Mark T. Bertolini, opioid

The changing role of the CEO

Sep 25 2017

Speaking at Fortune’s CEO Initiative, Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark T. Bertolini said today’s CEOs are running “social ecosystems” and emphasized the importance of creating a corporate culture and aligning it with the mission of the organization.

“The four walls of our corporation are no longer the limits of our communication, nor the area for which we can define truth,” Bertolini said. “… We have a responsibility to have a point of view beyond our four walls.”

Bertolini added that he believed CEOs “should be able to take moral positions and support the mission of the organization.”

Bertolini and Indra Nooyi, chairwoman and CEO of PepsiCo., were interviewed by Alan Murray, president of Fortune and the chief content officer of Time Inc.

CEOs are also beginning to invest more in their employees – something Bertolini strongly believes in. In 2015, Aetna launched its “Social Compact,” which includes improved wages, enhanced benefits and innovative wellness programs for the company’s associates.

“We have to look at human capital differently than we have in the past,” he said. “Profits come out of sound business fundamentals and in a service ecosystem as large as ours, those sound business fundamentals are run by people.”

While some jobs can be automated by machines in the future, Bertolini said it’s critical to redefine work and a person’s responsibilities.

“We’re looking at getting into the home, where most social determinants are the most evident. That’s not going to mean an Aetna representative will be knocking on the door; it really needs to be someone from the community that we hire and they know that person and can get into the home,” Bertolini said.