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Business Leader of the Year

Drexel LeBow Business Leader of the Year logo overlaid on view of Phiiladelphia

Presented annually by Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, the Business Leader of the Year award has become one of the most prestigious honors in the Greater Philadelphia region. This award was established in 1954 by a student, George Ross ’55, Hon. ’99, who was later recognized as the 35th Business Leader of the Year in 1989.

Proceeds from the event fund scholarships and support academic programs within the Bennett S. LeBow College of Business.

The 68th Drexel University Business Leader of the Year is Gregory E. Deavens, CPA, CGMA, president and chief executive officer of Independence Health Group, and is presented on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 in Philadelphia.

Gregory E. Deavens, CPA*, CGMA

Greg Deavens portrait

Gregory E. Deavens, CPA, CGMA, is president and chief executive officer for Independence Health Group (Independence), parent of Independence Blue Cross, one of the nation’s leading health insurers.

Under his leadership, Independence has been committed to advancing equitable, whole-person health care. This includes an emphasis on reducing racial and economic health inequities and integrating physical and behavioral health care. The organization also has focused on partnerships dedicated to reducing the cost of medications for the benefit of members and employer customers.

Mr. Deavens has been named to Savoy magazine’s Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America, Philadelphia magazine’s Most Influential People in Philadelphia, and Modern Healthcare’s 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare, among other honors. He also received the Excellence in Governance award from Modern Healthcare in recognition of his contributions as chair of the board of directors for Hartford HealthCare from June 2020 to June 2023.

He assumed the role of CEO at Independence in January 2021. Mr. Deavens joined the company in 2017 as executive vice president, chief financial officer, and treasurer. Prior to that, he held senior financial roles at MassMutual, NY Life, Cigna, and GE Capital. He began his career in public accounting with Price Waterhouse, where he specialized in financial services while working in the firm’s New York, London, and St. Louis offices.

Mr. Deavens serves on the boards of Alegeus Technologies, America’s Health Insurance Plans, BCS Financial Corporation, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, Hartford HealthCare, National Institute for Health Care Management, and Quartet Health. He also is on advisory boards for PNC Bank (Philadelphia Region) and Town Hall Ventures. As part of his responsibilities at Independence, he serves on the boards of Independence Health Group and its subsidiaries. In addition, Mr. Deavens serves as trustee of the Barnes Foundation, on the board of directors of the African American Museum in Philadelphia, and as an honorary trustee of the Amistad Center for Art & Culture. He also served on the transition leadership board of Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro.

He is a certified public accountant (CPA inactive)* and a member of the Executive Leadership Council, the National Association of Corporate Directors, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Mr. Deavens holds a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Florida A&M University. He and his wife, Beverly, have three adult children.

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Stephanie DiMuzio


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