Michael O. Leavitt is the founder and Chairman of Leavitt Partners where he helps clients navigate the future as they transition to new and better models of care. In previous roles, Mr. Leavitt served in the Cabinet of President George W. Bush (as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Secretary of Health and Human Services) and as a three-time elected governor of Utah.
In 1993, Mr. Leavitt was elected governor of Utah. He served three terms (1993-2003). In 2003, he joined the Cabinet of President George W. Bush, serving in two positions: first as leader of the Environmental Protection Agency (2003-2005) and then as secretary of Health and Human Services (2005-2009). At HHS, Mr. Leavitt administered a $750 billion budget — nearly 25 percent of the entire federal budget — and 67,000 employees.
He led the implementation of the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program. The task required the design, systematization and implementation of a plan to provide 43 million seniors with a new prescription drug benefit. By the end of the first year, enrollments exceeded projections, prices were lower than projected and seniors expressed high levels of satisfaction.
Mr. Leavitt is, at heart, an entrepreneur. As Governor, he organized a group of his colleagues to form Western Governors University. At WGU, degrees are earned based on competency rather than credit hours. WGU now has more than 60,000 students who reside in each of the 50 states and several foreign countries. Enrollment is growing at 35 percent a year. In November 2008, TIME magazine named WGU “the best relatively cheap university you’ve never heard of.”
Collaborator is a word that comes up repeatedly when one examines Mr. Leavitt’s background. His skill led his colleague governors to elect him as chairman of the National Governors Association, the Republican Governors Association and Western Governors’ Association. His new book—Finding Allies, Building Alliances—was released in September 2013 by Jossey-Bass Publishers and chronicles his expertise and passion for collaboration.
Mr. Leavitt is a seasoned diplomat, leading U.S. delegations to more than 50 countries. He has conducted negotiations on matters related to health, the environment and trade. At the conclusion of his service, the Chinese government awarded him the China Public Health Award – the first time this award has ever been given to a foreign government official.
He and his wife Jackie have been married nearly 37 years. They have five children and eleven grandchildren. The Leavitt’s live in Salt Lake City, Utah.