Medibank profit rises, CEO Craig Drummond to depart

Medibank profit rises, CEO Craig Drummond to depart

Private health insurance provider Medibank (ASX: MPL) has capitalised upon an influx of Australians wanting to prioritise their health during the pandemic period with profits rising in the first half of the financial year.

Despite that, the company's CEO Craig Drummond (pictured) has announced he will retire at the end of FY21.

Drummond's retirement will come five years after he first took up the role at Medibank in July 2016, with the outgoing CEO saying he is proud of what he has achieved.

"We have worked hard to provide our customers with greater value, we have built a health and wellbeing platform and have driven change to ensure greater resilience and choice in the private healthcare system," says Drummond.

"For the first time since 2013 the Medibank brand has grown the number of customers, while group policyholder numbers grew at in excess of 5 per cent annualised in the six months to 31 December.

"Leading Medibank through this transition has been incredibly rewarding. I could not have been blessed with a more competent executive leadership team or supportive board."

The Medibank board will now begin the process of appointing a new CEO, with both internal and external candidates to be considered for the role.

The announcement comes on the back of Medibank announcing a 27 per cent increase to its net profits before tax for the first half to $226.4 million.

During the period the company added 49,000 new policyholders and paid out $2.8 billion to customers.

The Medibank brand alone added 17,000 new policyholders in the half the first time the brand has grown in any six-month period since 2013, with the trend continuing into the second half.

Outgoing CEO Drummond said the results marked a "shift" in the industry.

"We've seen a real shift in Australians prioritising their health and wellbeing given COVID and heightened pressure on the public system," Drummond said.

"This has resulted in the private health insurance proposition becoming more compelling for many Australians, including those who were previously uninsured.

"With Medibank returning to growth, we are going to be bolder with our growth ambitions."

Shares in Medibank are up 1.40 per cent to $2.89 per share.

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