Google hires Geisinger CEO as new health strategy leader

Google has hired Geisinger Health CEO David Feinberg to provide strategic leadership as the tech giant moves into the health sector.

In a statement the Pennsylvania-based health firm Geisinger said Feinberg is leaving on 3 January, with chief medical officer Jaewon Ryu taking over as interim president and CEO until the company finds a permanent successor.

A graduate of University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School, Feinberg also served as CEO of UCLA’s hospitals and associate vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences, as well as president of UCLA Health System.

According to reports Feinberg will be tasked with organising Google’s fragmented health initiatives, which are situated in different business groups.

Among the groups in health care are Google’s search team,  its cloud business, and its Google Brain artificial intelligence team.

CNBC reported that another area of interest is a health team within Google’s Nest business to help manage users’ health at home, and helping monitor older people choosing to live independently.

David Feinberg

What’s unclear is how Feinberg will work with other companies involved with healthcare owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet.

This includes Verily, its life sciences research and development group, and DeepMind, another group focused on artificial intelligence.

CNBC’s sources say that the role is focused on Google, but could be influenced by executives at the company with a strong interest in healthcare, including Alphabet president and Google co-founder Sergey Brin, former CEO Eric Schmidt, and Verily CEO Andy Conrad.

Citing several contacts familiar with the matter, CNBC reported that Google has been searching for a suitable candidate for several months.

Artificial intelligence head Jeff Dean has been deeply involved in the process and is personally interviewing candidates.

Some have included leaders in health consulting, hospital management and insurance, and Feinberg will report to Dean as well as working closely with Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Google is just one of several big tech companies that has made moves into healthcare.

Apple is moving into health devices and apps, while Amazon has joined with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan to find ways to lower health costs and make health care more efficient.

Amazon is interested in areas including prescription drugs, medical supplies and employer health.



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