Called to Serve
Janine S. Creager
January 18, 2012
Lucky: That’s Robert Hatch for you. He’s lucky, he’ll tell you, to have grown up in Bountiful when there were still plenty of orchards and open space, and extremely lucky to have had parents who loved, nurtured and encouraged him to go out in to the world to compete.
“If you’re lucky enough to have [that],” says Hatch, who goes by Bob, “then life is pretty good.” This spirit of optimism will continue to serve him well in his new appointment as president of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah.
With a degree in political science and a minor in economics from the University of Utah, Hatch’s first post-graduate job was with First Security Bank, which was later acquired by Wells Fargo. Hatch eventually became president and CEO of Wells Fargo Utah, and his career spanned more than 40 years working in just two different buildings. He “happily retired” from Wells Fargo in November 2009.
Six months later, however, Hatch received a call from Mark Ganz, CEO of Regence, to discuss the change in leadership at Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah upon the retirement of then-President Scott Ideson. Out of this conversation, Hatch found himself employed again.
The call was not unexpected: Hatch had served for many years on the board of directors for Regence BlueCross Blue Shield of Utah and also on the board of its parent company, Regence. Hatch carries a wealth of corporate governance experience, having served as chair of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah and on the boards of many other organizations.
But for a guy who was happy to have hung up the coat and tie, what would make him put them back on?
“Like a lot of Americans today, we’re concerned about the future with our own personal health,” he says. “I felt strongly that I could help contribute to this team of dedicated professionals who are trying to be a part of the transformation that is taking place.” A major component of that transformation is the company’s website, myregence.com, which helps patients to be intimately involved in the direction of their personal health and that of their families.
While Hatch is thrilled to be at the center of the ongoing health care debate, he admits that his career and home geography are fairly narrow: he can count the number of career employers along with the number of counties he has lived in on one hand. But when it comes to his recreational geography, Hatch and his wife, Karla, are world travelers. A quick peek at their passports would reveal visits throughout Scandinavia, Europe, the Middle East and beyond.
“I recognize that not everyone has that opportunity to do that, but I would be a strong proponent to travel whenever you can. [Travel is an] educational opportunity that you can’t obtain any other way. In the simplest form,” he says, “it makes me appreciate life itself and what an absolute gift that is, because there is a world of things to see and people to interact with—the fact that you’re alive to experience that is almost greater than you can take in.”
Whether standing nose-to-nose with the Sphinx, or gathered around the board room working to guide others through the health care maze, Hatch is ready to take on whatever comes his way.
Regence has a company culture that Hatch says he is in tune with. “They believe in transparency, in empowering the individual to take control of their own health. I’m honored that I have the opportunity to come back and be a part of a team to navigate through this time of change.”