James “Wells” Hutchison Named New President & Chief Executive Officer of Delta Dental Plans Association

Current President & Chief Executive Officer Steven R. Olson is set to retire after leading the Association for eight years

OAK BROOK, Ill. — Monday, November 2, 2020 — Today, Delta Dental Plans Association (DDPA) announced that James “Wells” Hutchison will succeed Steven R. Olson as President & CEO effective December 1, 2020. This announcement follows a comprehensive national search process that produced a strong slate of external and internal candidates. The rigorous process was overseen by a selection committee of the Board of Directors and supported by a global executive search firm.

Hutchison, who is currently General Counsel at DDPA, has worked with the Delta Dental System for 15 years, including as outside counsel for more than a decade. He has established key relationships, launched market-focused solutions, and built subject matter expertise across numerous operating areas at DDPA through his years of service in various leadership roles. These experiences, coupled with a passion for improving access to oral healthcare, position Hutchison to lead Delta Dental with focus and agility as the healthcare industry faces new and unprecedented challenges and as employers, individuals and policymakers continue to develop a growing awareness of the importance of good oral health in a person’s overall wellbeing.   

“We are pleased to welcome Wells as President & CEO of DDPA,” said Rodney A. Young, Board Chair, DDPA and CEO & President, Delta Dental of Minnesota. “Wells has earned the trust and confidence of the Board, his peers, and the Delta Dental System over the last 15 years.  His dedication, commitment, and business acumen resulted in his emergence as the best person to lead DDPA. His leadership ability and knowledge of the dental insurance industry will elevate dental’s role in the broader healthcare conversation and improve access to oral healthcare throughout the country.” 

Hutchison previously served as outside counsel to DDPA while at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. During his 20 years with Katten, Hutchison was a partner of the firm and served as co-chair of the health care litigation practice. Additionally, he handled numerous pro bono cases and was twice recognized as Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by the Center for Disability and Elder Law, where he served as a member of the board. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University and holds a Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law.

“It is an honor to be selected to lead DDPA and continue to fulfill Delta Dental’s powerful mission of ensuring access to oral healthcare,” said Hutchison. “I look forward to elevating the dialogue concerning oral health’s critical role in overall health and the importance of expanding access to good oral health care for all Americans.”

Hutchison will succeed Steven R. Olson, who served as President & CEO of the Association for eight years. This appointment marks the conclusion of a succession process that began in October 2018 as a part of Olson’s long-planned retirement.

“As President & CEO of DDPA, Steve has been an exemplary leader, ensuring the Delta Dental brand successfully navigated and adapted to the ever-evolving needs of the marketplace,” Young stated. “Steve’s passion centered on the advancement of America’s oral health by increasing access to care, which is reflected by 80 million Americans receiving their dental coverage through Delta Dental.”

Prior to his tenure at DDPA, Olson was a senior partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. During his 29 years with the firm he served as national chair of the healthcare practice and was a member of the board of directors. He also served for more than six years as outside counsel to Delta Dental, acting as a legal and business advisor to the boards of DDPA and DeltaUSA. 

About Delta Dental Plans Association

Delta Dental Plans Association, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, is the not-for-profit national association of the 39 independent Delta Dental companies. Through these companies, Delta Dental is the nation’s largest provider of dental insurance, covering more than 80 million Americans, and offering the country’s largest dental network with approximately 156,000 participating dentists. In 2019, Delta Dental companies provided approximately $76 million in direct and in-kind community outreach support to improve the oral health of adults, children and infants in local communities across the country. For more information, visit: deltadental.com.

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