Amazon-Berkshire-JPM Health Venture Makes 'Bold Statement' With COO Hire
Jack Stoddard

The bold have gotten bolder.

The healthcare initiative formed by Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) , Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) made a "bold statement" with its appointment of Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) alum Jack Stoddard as chief operating officer, according to Leerink Partners LLC analyst Ana Gupte.

The venture is "reaffirming its commitment to upending the way consumers access healthcare in an increasing digital ecosystem," Gupte wrote in a Wednesday, Sept. 5, note. "We believe the Stoddard hire clearly shows that [the venture] is looking to own the digital front door to healthcare."

Stoddard, who was most recently general manager of digital health at Comcast, started his new role this month, according to his LinkedIn profile. CNBC first reported on Stoddard's appointment on Tuesday.

The news follows the hiring of Atul Gawande, a surgeon, public health researcher and a staff writer for The New Yorker, as CEO of the healthcare initiative effective July 9. Amazon, Berkshire and JPMorgan unveiled their partnership in January, saying they've banded together to address healthcare for their U.S. workers.

Earlier his career, Stoddard worked at UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s (UNH) Optum health services unit. He then served as COO and chief strategy officer at consumer healthcare engagement firm Accolade Inc., whose backers include Comcast Ventures.

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Stoddard is a board member at digital health company Carrot Inc. and health technology firm NovaSom Inc. His experience also includes serving as an executive adviser at alternative asset manager New Mountain Capital LLC from July 2017 to September 2018, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Comcast could offer a blueprint for what Stoddard might aim to do at the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan venture, Gupte wrote.

"As noted in a recent New York Times article, Comcast has been at the forefront of health insurance innovation," she wrote. "Instead of pushing the financial burden to employees via high-deductible health plans (as nearly 50% of large employers have), Comcast has focused on lowering costs by partnering with innovative tech-enabled companies to improve employee engagement (Accolade), care management (Grand Rounds which provides second opinions) and telehealth (Dr. On Demand)."

Stoddard's digital health experience will likely be coupled with brick-and-mortar clinics, Gupte wrote. CNBC in August reported on internal talks at Amazon to open primary care clinics at its headquarters in Seattle. --Tony Owusu contributed to this article

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