Page 6 - BusinessWest September 1, 2021
P. 6

A Different Kind of Gig
Richard Swift Settles In as CEO at Health
New England
For roughly two decades, Richard Swift hop scotched the country on a series of interim assignments during which he shared his considerable expertise with several different health plans. As fruitful as this niche has been for Swift, he has traded his ‘interim’ tag for something permanent at Health New England — the role of president and CEO — and at a very unique and challenging time, for him and the company.
RBy George O’Brien
ichard Swift says he applied for the position of interim chief financial officer at Health New England with the expectation that this assignment would be like all the other longer- term interim gigs that had dominat-
ed his résumé for the previous few decades.
To say that things haven’t turned out as he original-
ly thought would be a huge understatement.
For starters, while he interviewed for the position at Health New England’s offices in Monarch Place in
downtown Springfield and had the opportunity to meet many of those in the finance team before start- ing, once he was awarded the
job, he wouldn’t set foot in those offices for close to six months, and only then for short, very infrequent stops.
His arrival coincided almost exactly with that of COVID, which would put him in a working environment unlike anything he was used to.
“I’m told I was the first per- son they remotely onboarded,” he said, adding that several
days before his scheduled start date the company had begun “experimenting” with employees working remotely, experiments that went very well. “They said, ‘I guess we’ll just send you a laptop.’ They sent me a computer, the IT folks hooked me up ... the first time I came into the office was in August.”
While that was a huge adjustment for him, there was an even bigger one to come later.
 “I’m told I
was the first
person they

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