Another mindful CEO atop a Fortune 500 company

These story of mindful or, dare I say, enlightened CEOs are becoming less rare. But still, as you can see by the way PBS handles this story, it still feels strange to people:

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to a story about a high-profile and unusual CEO, whose own philosophy and unique life experience has influenced the way things operate day to day inside the company.

Economics correspondent Paul Solman has the story, part of our ongoing reporting Making Sense, which airs every Thursday on the NewsHour.

PAUL SOLMAN: Aetna insurance, number 57 on the Fortune 500, surprised corporate America recently when it hiked its minimum wage to $16/hour. It was a quirky move by a quirky CEO, Mark Bertolini, motorcycle enthusiast, former hippie, and two-time college dropout, who aced the GMAT exam on a lark, which led to a Cornell MBA, and a career in health insurance.

This CEO manages by walking around, slowly and mindfully, actually practicing walking meditation, and attentively listening to his employees.

Here’s the money quote, I think:

MARK BERTOLINI: They gave me last rites in the helicopter on the way to the — the hospital.

When I had that accident, I couldn’t engage in my physical activity the way I had before, and I engaged — started engaging in yoga as a physical practice, but very quickly found out there was something broader to it, and that it was actually helpful for my pain, and started to get into meditation, started to study the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita and a lot of the scriptures associated with yoga, the Yoga Sutras, and very quickly came to this conclusion that this had a huge impact on my ability to lead, but, more importantly, the ability to control my sympathetic nervous system, which had a direct tie to the pain in my arm.

The piece closes with the correspondent saying Bertolini is taking Aetna in a “very nontraditional direction.”

Posted by Steve