Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish to step down

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The office building of health insurer Anthem is seen in Los Angeles, California February 5, 2015. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas/File Photo (Copyright Reuters 2016)

Nov 6 (Reuters) - Anthem Inc on Monday named industry veteran Gail Boudreaux as its new chief executive, replacing Joseph Swedish, who will step down after more than four years at the helm of one of the largest U.S. health insurers.

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Boudreaux will take the role on Nov. 20. She recently served as CEO of United Healthcare, a unit of the biggest U.S. health insurer, UnitedHealth Group Inc.

Boudreaux's appointment is likely to drive Anthem's stock price higher, analysts at Leerink Partners said on Friday, after the Wall Street Journal first reported the news.

Swedish will serve as Anthem's executive chairman and step down from that role in May next year. He will be senior adviser through May 2020, the company said.

Swedish orchestrated Anthem's $54 billion merger proposal to smaller rival Cigna Corp in 2015, which was ultimately scrapped due to regulatory issues.

(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Sai Sachin Ravikumar)