CVS, which operates 9,700 retail pharmacies and more than 1,100 MinuteClinic walk-in care centers, has confirmed to Internet Health Management that chief information officer Stephen Gold has resigned and left the company.

The company says it’s unrelated, but just about two weeks after CVS Health Corp. announced it was acquiring health insurer Aetna Inc. for $77 billion, CVS is looking for a new chief information officer.

CVS, which operates 9,700 retail pharmacies and more than 1,100 MinuteClinic walk-in care centers, has confirmed to Internet Health Management that chief information officer Stephen Gold has resigned and left the company. Gold was appointed CIO in 2012 and also held the title of executive vice president, technology operations and innovation.

Stephen Gold

CVS isn’t saying much about why Gold, a key architect of the CVS e-commerce and digital healthcare services strategy, is leaving the company. “Stephen Gold resigned from the company in order to pursue professional opportunities outside of CVS Health,” says a CVS spokesman.

But the departure of its CIO is not tied to CVS’ proposed megamerger with Aetna. “His resignation was completely unrelated,” the CVS spokesman says. “The acquisition is not expected to close until the fourth quarter of next year.”

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While the hunt for a new top technology executive gets underway, CVS chief operating officer Jon Roberts will take over as CIO and oversee matters pertaining to information technology, CVS says.

Gold had a long resume in retail, healthcare and e-commerce technology. Gold had served as a CVS executive vice president since March 2015 and as CIO of CVS Health since July 2012. Prior to joining CVS, Gold worked as senior vice president and chief information officer of Avaya Inc. from May 2010 through June 2012 and as executive vice president, CIO and chief technology officer of GSI Commerce Inc., an operator of e-commerce sites for retailers, from February 2005 through April 2010.

During his tenure as CVS CIO, Gold was in charge of building and sustaining multiple new digital healthcare and e-commerce initiatives, such as the digital healthcare and e-commerce technology development center known as the Innovation Center that CVS now operates in Boston.

As CIO, Gold also oversaw big advances in how CVS uses patient data and analytics as well as new e-commerce initiatives such as a digital tool that allows patients to view wait times at most locations and hold a place in line using their smartphone, computer or tablet. During his tenure CVS also introduced a text message program that 41 million CVS customers use to get medication refill reminders and prescription refills.

Any new CIO CVS brings in will at some point oversee technology for one of the nation’s biggest healthcare service companies. On Dec. 3, CVS announced it would buy Aetna for about $67.5 billion and absorb about $10 billion in Aetna’s debt. The deal combines the largest U.S. drugstore chain with the third-biggest health insurer, rolling Aetna’s health insurance business in with CVS’s drug plans and retail operations.

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When complete, pending approval and review by the U.S. Department of Justice and the boards of directors each company, the combined CVS/Aetna organization would create one of the industry’s biggest digital and mobile technology platforms aimed at consumer healthcare.

The new digital healthcare platform of the combined companies would include:

  • A consumer base of 65 million patients
  • 1 billion automated calls and texts delivered to patients annually
  • E-mail volume of 55 million messages
  • More than 48 million patients enrolled in text message program
  • A digital prescription program that that gets half of prescription refill orders from mobile consumers.

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