Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the New Jersey CIO Community

David Plotzker

Senior Director, Transformational Projects

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

David Plotzker is the Senior Director of Transformational Projects at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield Of NJ, a leading, not-for-profit health insurance company with more than 50% market share in NJ and an annual revenue of more than $14 billion. David oversees the implementation of transformational projects across healthcare management, government programs, information security, operations and numerous other strategic areas. 

Prior to this role, he served as the Divisional CIO for the Retail Pharmacy Network division at Medco (now part of Cigna) and also spent more than a decade at leading financial services companies such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. David is an Executive Committee officer of the NJ chapter of the Society for Information Management, and he is also the president of his local Toastmasters chapter. 

Learn more about leaders in the New Jersey CIO community here.

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

I have always been fascinated by the nexus of business strategy and information technology.  I began my career on Wall Street by programming analytics and then leveraging the output of those analytics with traders and salespeople for competitive advantage. During my financial services stint, I helped build the first I.P.O./Secondary Offerings system for Goldman Sachs (G.S. Online) and an internet-only bank for Citibank (Citi f/i). I also consulted for IBM as one of their first classes of consultants.  

I decided to use my skills to help people get healthier (rather than wealthier), and I changed industries. I led clinical trials and new product development systems at Pfizer. At Medco, I led their e-prescribing initiatives and served as the Divisional CIO for their Retail Pharmacy Network (now part of Cigna). I then moved on to my current position at Horizon BCBSNJ to more directly and positively affect the lives of my 3.8 million neighbors in New Jersey. 

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

Always be truthful, and share as much knowledge with others as you possibly can. 

With disruption being a key theme of the past year, where do you see your role as a CIO going in the next 1-2 years?

As a 90 year old company, Horizon BCBSNJ cannot simply rest on its laurels. It must constantly reinvent itself, honing its strategies and implementing optimal technologies so that it does not get blindsided or leapfrogged in the process. I have been integral to those discussions, and it gives me great personal satisfaction to have been instrumental in implementing these primary strategies and expanding Horizon's revenues and customer base - often through the implementation of completely new market-driven products. As the pace of Digital Transformation quickens, I look forward to having even more of an impact over the next few years. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the role as a CIO?

Take the time to learn your role and the relationships that you must build - don't be too impatient with yourself. Be knowledgeable on the details, not just the big picture, and know who you can trust to figure out the details. Be open to constantly learning, or else you will quickly fall behind.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

  1. I love traveling and experiencing new places and cultures. I have visited our two non-contiguous states, Hawaii and Alaska.  
  2. I bicycle rode almost 400 miles of the Empire State Trail (NY) with two of my daughters over the course of less than two weeks.
  3. I am a music aficionado who appreciates most genres of music, and I am an amateur at playing the guitar. 

What is the value of joining an Evanta community?

The Evanta Community is a community of professionals who have worked incredibly hard to be experts in their profession. They have gained most of their expertise through experience, learning from both the good and the bad (usually more from the ones that went south!). They are superb sounding boards when facing a challenge and have a plethora of innovative best practices to share.


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