LITTLE ROCK, AR –– Delta Dental of Arkansas (DDAR) president and CEO Ed Choate announced his retirement as of January 2022. Choate joined DDAR as president and CEO in 2000 and over his 20-year tenure has built a reputation as one of the state’s most influential and active champions for a healthier Arkansas.
Under Choate’s leadership, the company has more than quadrupled membership, revenue and net assets. DDAR now serves over 800,000 members in Arkansas, and more than 2.4 million members nationally, through its commercial dental and vision insurance products, Medicare Advantage dental plans and serving as one of two insurance providers managing dental benefits for the State of Arkansas’ Medicaid dental program.
“Delta Dental of Arkansas is an amazing company that excels at providing world-class service while truly caring for the people we serve,” said Choate. “It has mission-driven employees who are inspired to improve the health of Arkansans who need us most. I was blessed to be part of such a great organization.”
Choate’s work as president and CEO also focused on creating and growing the company’s philanthropic arm, the DDAR Foundation. As the leading foundation in Arkansas focused on improving the oral health of all Arkansans, the DDAR Foundation has invested more than $25 million back into the State through its various grant programs. The DDAR Foundation provided funds for the dental clinics at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, UAMS, and CARTI. For the past fourteen years, the DDAR Foundation was the leading financial supporter for the annual Arkansas Mission of Mercy event offering free dental care to anyone in need. Since 2011, the DDAR Foundation has funded over $7 million to 34 municipalities across the State for equipment to add fluoride to their water supply, and the result is that more than 600,000 Arkansans who previously did not have cavity-fighting fluoride in their water have it today.
“Under Ed’s leadership, Delta Dental remains financially solid, built on the mission of improving the oral health of all Arkansans, and is consistently recognized as one of the best places to work in our state,” said Wayne Callahan, chair of DDAR’s Board of Directors. “Our board, together with Delta Dental’s senior leadership team, is identifying the skills and experiences needed in the next CEO based on the company’s long-term strategic plan. This is a critical step in the process for the board in selecting the next leader to allow time for a smooth leadership transition,” Callahan said. “We are excited for Ed and the future of Delta Dental of Arkansas.”
About Delta Dental of ArkansasDelta Dental of Arkansas is the largest dental benefits provider in the state, helping more than 800,000 Arkansans keep their smiles healthy through commercial and Medicaid coverage. As a not-for-profit company, Delta Dental is committed to improving the oral health of Arkansans through the philanthropic efforts of its Foundation, which donated more than $25 million to support oral health education initiatives in the last thirteen years. For more information, visit deltadentalar.com.