DURHAM, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) has appointed Latisha Hamilton-Williams as the next Chief People Officer, effective Nov. 14. She is a proven and experienced leader in human resources and people operations who returns to Blue Cross NC after two senior human resources roles at Bridgestone Americas, Inc. and Amedisys, Inc. Fara Palumbo, who has led the company’s human resources division since 2008, will retire at the end of 2022. 

In her position on the executive leadership team, Hamilton-Williams will report directly to President and CEO Dr. Tunde Sotunde and will lead the human resources division. In her role, she will oversee the company’s People Strategies, Total Rewards and Shared Services, People Analytics and HR Technology, Enterprise Learning and Development, Internal Communications and Employment Brand, and Talent Management. 

“I am delighted to welcome Latisha back to the Blue Cross NC family in her new role. Latisha has the right skills, background, experiences, and leadership to build on and grow our people and culture strategy. She embodies our ‘People First’ value and I’m looking forward to her return,” said Dr. Sotunde.

“Fara’s contributions to our company and members will be felt for a long time. She achieved a ‘People First’ culture that enables our workforce every day to deliver on what matters most, improving the health and wellbeing of all North Carolinians,” said Dr. Sotunde. 

During Palumbo’s tenure, the company achieved certification as a Great Place to Work© and has earned numerous recognitions as an employer of choice in NC and nationally, including the Fortune Best Workplaces in Healthcare & BioPharma, Forbes Best Midsize Employers, Forbes Best Employers for Diversity, Working Mother Top 100, Learning Elite, and a Champion for Military Hiring. Leading several cultural and leadership transformations over the past two decades, Palumbo’s efforts included evolving the organization to a “hybrid flex” environment that gives employees more autonomy in choosing where and when they work. Additionally, she reimagined the approach to the company’s health and wellness programs that supported the physical, mental, emotional, and financial well-being of the company’s workforce. Her focus on improving work-life balance for all employees led to offering parental leave as a standard 12-week benefit to all parents. 

Hamilton-Williams will continue to build on Palumbo’s legacy. Her broad experience and emphasis on the company’s ‘People First’ value will continue Blue Cross NC’s prioritization of employee and workplace support.

“Returning in this role to a company and mission that I’ve always cared so deeply about is incredibly humbling,” said Hamilton-Williams. “I’m looking forward to leading, supporting, and continuing our efforts to prove Blue Cross NC as a top employer, where talented and caring people are delivering on our purpose of improving the health and well-being of our customers and communities.”

Hamilton-Williams is a North Carolina native and graduate of North Carolina A&T State University who brings more than 20 years of experience in human resources and people operations, including expertise in mergers and acquisitions, Total Rewards, and workforce mobility programs.

Most recently, Hamilton-Williams was the Senior Vice President of Total Rewards and HR Operations at Bridgestone Americas, Inc., where she led the design, development, implementation, administration, and continuous improvement of Total Rewards and HR Operations for 55,000 employees in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. 

Her earlier roles included Senior Vice President of Total Rewards for Amedisys, Inc. and Director of Human Resources Operations and Analytics, Vice President of Human Resources Support Services, and Vice President of Total Rewards and People Services at Blue Cross NC from 2004-2015. 

In her more than 10 years previously at Blue Cross NC, Hamilton-Williams provided leadership and direction to the Total Rewards, Talent Acquisition, HR Operations, HR Communications, and Employee Relations functions. She worked to develop short and long-term incentive plan designs and targets and oversaw the design of employee wellness and retirement programs. 

Hamilton-Williams is a passionate supporter of community organizations in North Carolina and Tennessee, and is a Baron Society Member at the National Museum of African American Music.

On Hamilton-Williams' arrival, current Chief People Officer Fara Palumbo will transition to the role of Executive Advisor to the CEO until her retirement at the end of 2022.