When Cigna closed its $67 billion acquisition of Express Scripts in December, less than a year after the companies agreed to combine, it marked the creation of a greater than $140 billion revenue healthcare colossus. How did the companies combine so quickly?
Among the change agents was the Chief Technology Officer of Express Scripts Phil Finucane. He has a killer combination of skills in his toolkit, having been an engineer and technology leader at digital native companies such as Zynga and Yahoo! while also working at another acquisitive behemoth, American Express, prior to Express Scripts. As such, he has an unusual ability to draw from the strengths of each environment.
Finucane spent much of his tenure at Express Scripts upgrading the technology talent, investing to create a world class engineering function. Once in place, he set them loose to upgrade the technology that the company uses, allowing them to spend 30 percent of their time identifying and solving areas they believed to be in need of an upgrade.
Finucane also believes that a key to his team’s success was moving from a project to a product orientation, creating teams that create capabilities in the product area that they are embedded in, optimizing and investing in it over time. With these improvements in place, among others, when Cigna came calling, Express Scripts was a remarkably nimble company for its size (greater than $100 billion in revenue).
Finucane would be the first to admit that Express Scripts was far from perfect and that the integration has had its share of difficulties, but he recently left the company satisfied that he did so with it in better shape than it was when he found it. He describes this remarkable journey in detail in this interview.
Date: July 15, 2019