Business Profile | Mark Thierer

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September 2012 View more

NMAG0912_BusinessLisle-based pharmacy benefits management company, SXC Health Solutions, recently merged with Catalyst Health—a deal worth about $4.4 billion. Under the leadership of Chairman and CEO Mark Thierer, the new company, Catamaran, reflects the union of two of the industry’s fastest growing pharmacy benefits management companies in the U.S.. Naperville Magazine recently spoke with Thierer about the merger and its impact on the western suburbs.

Q&A

The recent merger catapults your company into the top tier of pharmacy benefits management. How will this impact the way your company does business? Will this move result in new jobs at your Lisle-based headquarters?

This is truly an exciting time for us. Catamaran combines the best features of SXC and Catalyst – the industry’s top customer service model and the industry’s finest IT platform. So with this merger, we now have the bandwidth to help any organization of any size, and our technology and information engine helps us do it better than our competitors. Though we’ll always be focused on solutions, not size, we now have the purchasing power of the largest industry players so we’ll be eager to put our strengthened resources and leverage to work to help larger health plans and Fortune 100 employers lower their prescription drug costs.

Catamaran is now the fourth largest PBM in the U.S. by prescription volume, serving more than 25 million consumers and managing more than 200 million prescriptions.  Our tremendous growth creates opportunities for the area as we look to attract talented individuals to our Lisle headquarters and other Catamaran locations around the U.S. and Canada.

Speaking of growth, under your leadership, SXC Health Solutions achieved aggressive growth in the past few years. Fortune 100 ranked it the fastest-growing company in 2011. What is your secret to success?

Our success has been a direct result of bringing the best and the brightest in the industry to our team, identifying strategic acquisition targets that complement our business, and developing a strong organic growth strategy. But the underlying secret of our success is to remain dedicated to our principle of Clients for Life. Ultimately, our mission is to help our clients – whether they’re health plans, employers, state governments, labor unions and others – find unique and customized ways to reduce costs while also providing better care to their members. Our 99% client retention rate is a testament to our dedication to this principle across our entire organization.

SXC Health Solutions has been a leader in healthcare information technology.  With technology rapidly changing, how do you inspire and create innovation within your own company?

Innovation has been the engine behind our rapid expansion from an $80.9 million technology company in 2006, to a $13 billion PBM.  In fact, we were the creator of the most widely deployed technology engine that today processes one in five of all prescription claims. Our emphasis on innovation is what helped us get to where we are today, and it’s something we continue to nurture. We even created an Office of Innovation dedicated to take creativity to the next level. Our new downtown offices will house our Innovation Center, a destination for healthcare industry leaders, clients, and prospects to learn about new ideas in pharmaceutical management. It will be an incubator for new, disruptive ideas in healthcare, as well as a way to show our clients and prospects our full scope of services.

As Chairman and CEO, what are some of the biggest challenges facing your company in the next 12 to 24 months?

We don’t foresee any major challenges, but rather, opportunities. For the upcoming months, we’re going to be laser focused on executing for our clients a seamless integration and elevated results across all the areas that matter. Our other area of focus is to bring Catamaran’s capabilities to Fortune 100 employers who are challenged by rising healthcare costs.  Longer term, our goal is for Catamaran to rank among the top 3 PBMs.

You are involved in numerous community organizations in the Chicago area. What are some of your proudest accomplishments?

I’ve felt a tremendous sense of pride in being able to give back to the Chicagoland community, particularly through my work on the board of the Museum of Science and Industry and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. I’ve always been a supporter of the arts and sciences and feel strongly that these organizations play an important role in educating today’s youth and helping to develop an early interest in these fields. My work with the Economic Club and as a board member of the Executive’s Club of Chicago has also been rewarding as I’m very interested in helping promote Chicago as a great place to do business.  I am also involved in the American Cancer Society’s CEOs Against Cancer organization, dedicated to eliminating unnecessary deaths and suffering globally.

You maintain a busy schedule between your responsibilities as a Chairman and CEO and your involvement in the community, how do you maintain a work-life balance?

I’ve been extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to watch Catamaran grow and evolve into the business it is today. And while this has been a tremendous accomplishment, I am also incredibly fortunate to have the love and support of my family, who have been there at each step of this incredible journey. Spending time with them re-charges me. You can also find me at one of the area’s golf courses on any given weekend. To me, it’s the ultimate form of relaxation.

Photo courtesy of Catamaran