Mr. Tyson was the first African American CEO of Kaiser when he took that position in 2013, after nearly three decades at the company. He had previously worked as a hospital administrator and chief operating officer, and was included on Time magazine’s 2017 list of the world’s most influential people.
Under Mr. Tyson, Kaiser grew from 9.1 million members and 174,000 employees to 12.3 million members and 218,000 employees, increasing annual revenue from $53 billion to more than $82.8 billion, according to the company.
His death occurred the day before a planned five-day strike by 4,000 mental health professionals at 100 Kaiser clinics in California, amid a contract dispute over retirement and health benefits. Union officials voted Sunday to postpone the strike.
Peter V. Lee, the head of Covered California, an independent state agency that focuses on health insurance, said Mr. Tyson’s “vision and laser focus on increasing access, quality and affordable health care coverage for all has helped transform Kaiser and had a positive impact on the entire health care system.”
Mr. Tyson also was on the boards of the American Heart Association and Salesforce. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and deputy chairman of the Americas of the International Federation of Health Plans.
Bernard James Tyson was born in Vallejo, Calif., on Jan. 20, 1959. His father was a carpenter and minister; his mother had diabetes, leading Mr. Tyson to spend time in hospitals growing up. He eventually decided that he wanted to run one of his own.
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Read the obituary (Charles Sykes/AP)
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Mr. Tyson received a bachelor’s degree in health service management in 1982 and an MBA in 1984, with a focus in health service administration, from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.
He joined Kaiser three years later and worked as an assistant administrator for its San Francisco medical center and CEO of the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Santa Rosa, Calif. “I still do hospital visits, and I can tell how well it’s run in a couple minutes,” he told Bloomberg in 2015. “How clean are the floors? How does the staff respond? What’s the vibe?”
While at Kaiser, he was a member of the Bay Area Council, a business-led public policy organization advocating for a strong economy for area residents. He became Kaiser Permanente’s chairman in 2014, the year after he was named CEO.
On Sunday, the company’s board of directors named Executive Vice President Gregory Adams as interim chairman and CEO.
Mr. Tyson’s marriage to Carla Robinson ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife, Denise Bradley-Tyson, and three sons from his earlier marriage, Alexander, Charles and Bernard J. Tyson Jr.