10 business newsmakers to watch in 2012

  • Article by: Star Tribune staff
  • Updated: January 17, 2012 - 2:49 PM

Across the Twin Cities, these prominent figures from the business world will face difficult challenges or big opportunities.

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April Todd-Malmlov, director of Minnesota’s health insurance exchange

“Creating an exchange is a very challenging, exciting, and important effort. The timeline is tight; the need for creativity and flexibility is key.”

About Todd-Malmlov: For the past year, she has been leading the development of Minnesota’s health insurance exchange, a marketplace for people to compare health care plans and purchase insurance. Todd-Malmlov has been involved in health insurance exchange issues since 2006. Previously, she served as health economist at the Minnesota Department of Health and also worked at Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group.

Personal file: She grew up in the Red River Valley and now lives in the southeast metropolitan area with her husband and two sons. She earned a degree from Beloit College in Wisconsin and a master’s in public health from the University of Minnesota. When not thinking big thoughts about health care, she likes to settle in with a good book of fiction.

What’s big in 2012: States have until the end of this year to prove the exchanges will be ready for consumers to use beginning in 2014. If Minnesota doesn’t have a viable plan in place, the federal government will implement its own exchange.

Final word: “I am honored to be given this unique opportunity to lead the design and development of a new marketplace that can have a meaningful and lasting positive impact on Minnesota’s families, businesses and health care market.”

JACKIE CROSBY

Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

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In business, leaders know that somebody is usually watching them.

Employees, shareholders, customers — they’re searching for clues about how the organization is doing and what changes are ahead.

With the arrival of a new year, the Star Tribune has selected 10 Minnesota business figures who will have many eyes upon them in 2012.

They made the list for a variety of reasons. Some will deal with tough challenges, such as Craig Herkert, chief of grocery store operator Supervalu, which is trying to respond to fierce competitive pressures. Or Zygi Wilf, the real estate veteran and Vikings owner who is championing a new stadium for the team.

Some are embracing big opportunities, such as Christine Morse, who heads the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, which cleared billions of dollars last year in a complicated stock deal that freed up cash to pursue the late Cargill heiress’ philanthropic vision.

Others will try to maintain their momentum, such as Sally Smith, chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings, the sports-themed restaurant chain that has grown rapidly with an ambitious goal: 1,000 locations.

Here are the 10 to watch in 2012:

  
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