OAKLAND — Bernard J. Tyson, the chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, died in his sleep early Sunday, the company confirmed.
Tyson, who was appointed CEO of the medical group and health care provider in 2013, “unexpectedly passed away early today in his sleep,” the company said in a statement Sunday afternoon. The cause of Tyson’s death was not disclosed.
Tyson has been with the Oakland-based national health care organization for more than 34 years, serving in roles ranging from hospital administrator to division president, before becoming CEO in 2013. He was appointed chairman of the board in 2014, according to his company biography.
“Bernard was an exceptional colleague, a passionate leader, and an honorable man. We will greatly miss him,” said Edward Pei, who sits on the company’s board, in a statement Sunday.
Effective immediately, the company named Gregory A. Adams, Executive Vice President and Group President, as interim Chairman and CEO.
Under Tyson’s leadership, Kaiser Permanente has grown from 9.1 million members and 174,000 employees in 2013 to 12.3 million members and 218,000 employees nationwide. The company’s annual revenue has grown from $53 billion to $82.8 billion during that time, according to a news release.
In 2017, Tyson was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People for his work in public health. The recognition, written by U.S. Rep. John Lewis, lauded Tyson for focusing on “an often overlooked aspect of medicine to the forefront: mental and emotional health.”
A Bay Area native, Tyson earned a Master’s degree in health service administration and bachelor’s degree in health service management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. Tyson was also a member of the Bay Area Council, a business-oriented public policy organization.
Tyson is survived by his wife, Denise Bradley-Tyson, and three sons; Bernard J. Tyson Jr., Alexander and Charles.
Tyson’s death comes just a day before nearly 4,000 of the company’s mental health workers in California, represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, were expected to begin a five-day strike to protest wait times between appointments for mental health patients and staffing gaps.
Union stewards will discuss Sunday afternoon whether to postpone the strike in light of Tyson’s death, according to a union spokesman.
Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson dead at 60