Crain’s Headlines: Blue Cross Parent Company Cuts 400 Workers

The parent company of Blue Cross of Illinois is shedding about 400 workers as it positions itself for growth in a rapidly changing industry.

Health Care Service Corporation says the affected employees, including those with senior manager and director titles, are located across its service areas: Illinois, Texas, Montana, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

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The cuts come one month after the company shed a few dozen middle-management positions, and six months after CEO Paula Steiner’s departure kick-started a wave of executive exits.

HCSC says the changes aim to ensure it has the structure and resources it needs to best serve members.

In other Chicago-area business news:

Melinda Gates wants to increase the number of women in tech, and she’s looking to Chicago to help lead the way.

The University of Illinois at Chicago is getting a major grant from Break Through Tech, a program backed by Gates and others. UIC says it’s among the largest gifts ever to the school’s College of Engineering.

The UIC program will include helping female computer science students get internships, which are a major path to jobs in the industry.

Chicago is the first of three cities outside New York chosen for the program.

Finally, the agency that runs McCormick Place has a new leader.

The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority board, better known as McPier, has named Larita Reed-Clark as the authority’s permanent CEO.

She’ll oversee McCormick Place, the Hyatt Regency, the Marriott Marquis Chicago and the Wintrust Arena.

Reed-Clark has served as acting CEO since October, when Lori Healy left the top job.

In a statement, she says she’s committed to expanding Chicago’s global tourism profile and creating opportunities for communities here.

Crain’s Headlines is a joint production between WTTW and Crain’s Chicago Business. It airs every Monday through Thursday on the WTTW News program “Chicago Tonight.” 

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