DURHAM, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced Willie Deese as the newest member of its board of trustees. The Blue Cross NC board consists of community leaders across North Carolina with varied backgrounds in health care, education, business and finance.

“Willie’s local North Carolina roots combined with his history of global operational excellence brings a unique perspective to our company,” said Blue Cross NC Board of Trustees Chair Ned Curran. “As we continue to sharpen our focus on improving health outcomes for all, Deese's demonstrated leadership and impressive skillset will be of tremendous value for our customers and communities."

Deese led a 40-year career in the pharmaceutical and computer industries before retiring in 2016. He most recently served as Executive Vice President of Manufacturing at Merck and Co. Inc. He currently serves as board member for Dentsply Sirona Inc., CDK Global Inc., PSEG Inc., and G1 Therapeutics Inc. In addition to his committee roles, Deese has served on the audit committee for each company. In early 2022, Deese was appointed to the Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities by President Joe Biden.

He is recognized for his expertise in manufacturing and supply chain management, as well as his insights in culture management, including environmental and sustainability practices, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies and leadership development. He believes that providing more equitable resources and opportunities for all leads to more positive outcomes and a greater impact on our communities. Deese’s achievements have led to several accolades, including North Carolina A&T State University naming its College of Business and Economics in his honor.

Deese graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with a Bachelor of Science in business administration, and later earned his MBA from Western New England University. Deese also received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Davidson College in May 2021.

To learn more about Blue Cross NC’s Board of Trustees, visit BCBSNC.com.