In November, former Aetna Inc. (AET) executive Joseph Zubretsky will take the helm of managed health care services provider Molina Healthcare Inc. (MOH) - Get Molina Healthcare, Inc. Report and according to a stock analyst, his hiring supports the view that Molina could be a takeover target in the future.

"We see the appointment of Joseph Zubretsky as president and CEO of Molina Healthcare as a meaningful step in the right direction for the company and supporting our view of out-performance on a turnaround and potentially a take-out thesis over time," wrote Leerink Partners LLC Ana Gupte in a Tuesday, Oct. 11, note.

Molina declined to comment.

The Long Beach, Calif.-based company after the market close on Tuesday announced Zubretsky's appointment effective Nov. 6. He succeeds interim CEO Joseph W. White, who will continue to serve as the managed health care services provider's chief financial officer.

Molina in May announced the departure of Dr. J. Mario Molina as CEO and John C. Molina as CFO, and tapped White as CFO and interim CEO. Mario and John Molina continue to serve as directors.

Gupte wrote in a note in May that she views the management changes as a "positive change in MOH that will drive more consistent execution, margin expansion and EPS Achievability and increases the potential of take-out," adding that WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (WCG) - Get WellCare Health Plans, Inc. Report and Aetna were the most likely acquirers.

Molina serves about 4.7 million members through its health plans operating in 12 states and Puerto Rico. As of the end of June, the company's shareholders included Barry Rosenstein's Jana Partners LLC, which bought a 2.2% stake in the the second quarter.

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Zubretsky was most recently president and CEO of The Hanover Insurance Group. Before that, he worked for nearly nine years at Aetna, where his roles including serving as CFO from 2007 to 2013. Prior to joining Aetna in 2007, he held senior management roles in the healthcare and financial services industries.

His arrival at Molina comes after the company in August announced a restructuring plan aimed at lowering annualized run-rate expenses by between $300 million and $400 million by late 2018 when fully implemented. As part of the restructuring, Molina said it was trimming its corporate and health plans workforce by about 10%, or 1,500 full-time-equivalent employees, by year-end.

Shares of Molina were trading at $


on Wednesday afternoon, down 1.4%.

Molina is scheduled to report its third quarter results on Nov. 2.

The company in August of last year agreed to buy certain Medicare Advantage assets from Aetna and Humana (HUM) for about $117 million. The deal was part of Aetna and Humana's effort to quell the Department of Justice's antitrust concerns about their merger. In February, Aetna and Humana pulled the plug on their merger after a judge's ruling in January blocking the transaction. The deal with Molina was terminated as well and Molina was paid a $75 million breakup fee.

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