George Paz, the former CEO and chairman of Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefit management (PBM) organization in the US, died unexpectedly on October 23, 2022, at the age of 67. His family did not disclose the cause of his death, but said he was surrounded by his loved ones in his final moments. Paz was a prominent and respected leader in the health care industry, as well as a generous philanthropist and a civic champion in his hometown of St. Louis.
A Remarkable Career in Health Care
Paz was born in 1955, the grandson of Mexican immigrants. He studied accounting at the University of Missouri – St. Louis and became a certified public accountant. He began his career in the health care sector in 1993, when he joined Life Partners Group as executive vice president and chief financial officer. He left the company in 1995 and joined Express Scripts in 1998, also as chief financial officer.
Express Scripts was a relatively small company at the time, with annual revenue of about $1.2 billion. Paz played a key role in transforming the company into a Fortune 100 giant, with revenue of over $100 billion in 2016, the year he retired as CEO. He became the president of Express Scripts in 2003, the CEO in 2005, and the chairman in 2011. He remained as the non-executive chairman until his death.
Under Paz’s leadership, Express Scripts made several strategic acquisitions, such as Medco Health Solutions in 2012, which made it the largest PBM in the US, and eviCore healthcare in 2017, which expanded its services to medical benefit management. Paz also oversaw the merger of Express Scripts with Cigna, a health insurance company, in 2018, creating a combined entity that aimed to improve health outcomes and lower costs for customers.
Paz was widely recognized for his vision, innovation, and excellence in the health care industry. He received numerous awards and honors, such as the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2011, the St. Louis Business Journal’s Business Person of the Year Award in 2012, and the Horatio Alger Award in 2016. He was also named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine several times.
A Passionate Philanthropist and a Civic Champion
Paz was not only a successful businessman, but also a passionate philanthropist and a civic champion. He donated millions of dollars to various causes, such as education, health, arts, and culture. He was especially committed to supporting his alma mater, the University of Missouri – St. Louis, where he served as a trustee and a benefactor. He also funded scholarships for students from underprivileged backgrounds, and endowed a professorship in accounting.
Paz was also involved in many civic and community organizations, such as the St. Louis Regional Chamber, the St. Louis Zoo, the United Way of Greater St. Louis, and the Boy Scouts of America. He was appointed to the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in 2012, and became the chairman of the board in 2014. He also served on the boards of several other corporations, such as Honeywell, Prudential Financial, and Centene.
Paz was admired and respected by his peers, colleagues, and friends for his integrity, humility, and generosity. He was described as a visionary leader, a mentor, a role model, and a friend by many who knew him. He was also a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, who cherished his family above all else.
A Legacy That Lives On
George Paz’s cause of death may remain unknown, but his legacy lives on in the lives of the millions of people he touched and influenced. He was a trailblazer in the health care industry, a champion of social justice and inclusion, and a pillar of the St. Louis community. He will be dearly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew him.
According to UPI, Express Scripts issued a statement on Paz’s death, saying, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of George Paz. George was a visionary leader who transformed Express Scripts into a health care leader and a force for good in the world. He was also a dear friend and a mentor to many of us. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. We are grateful for his legacy and his lasting impact on our company and our society.”