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Patrick Springer, Published May 21 2010

BCBS VP Niles leaves company

Chad Niles, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, has left the company.

Niles, who has been with the insurer since 1981, left Monday, and a search is under way for his replacement.

“That’s all I can say,” Denise Kolpack, vice president for corporate communications, said Thursday.

Niles, who lives in Oxbow, N.D., could not be reached Thursday for comment. He was a figure in the Blues’ controversial sales promotion reward trip to the Grand Cayman Island last year, which resulted in an audit of the insurer’s expenses.

Blue Cross Blue Shield’s market share, roughly 90 percent of North Dakota’s private insurance market, has eroded slightly in the last year as several large groups, including Altru in Grand Forks and Sanford-MeritCare, have left.

Niles joined Blue Cross Blue Shield as a Medicare auditor. He rose through the ranks over the years, holding positions including marketing support, manager of national labor and special accounts, general sales manager, as well as assistant vice president of marketing and vice president of marketing.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522