Bernard Tyson, chief executive officer of Kaiser Permanente, passed away suddenly on November 10, 2019. The 60-year-old San Francisco native was a powerful voice for diversity while also serving as a leading CEO.
As Kaiser Permanente’s first Black CEO, Tyson grew the company’s workforce of 174,000 to 218,000 people and increased its annual revenue from $53 billion to nearly $83 billion. He was named to Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” list in 2017 and the publication’s “50 Most Influential People in Health Care” for 2018. The company provides health coverage for more than 12 million people.
Tyson also spoke out about race issues in America. In a 2014 op-ed piece published on his LinkedIn page, he shared how his success as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company did not shield him from experiencing racism.
“Most CEOs don’t leave their corporate offices, change clothes, and have car doors locked as they walk by or women move to the other side of the street hugging their purses as they see me out exercising,” Tyson wrote. “Even as a CEO, the black male experience is my reality.”
Tyson’s passing came one day after giving a dynamic keynote speech at the 2019 AfroTech conference in Oakland.