Kristin Merlo Named New President & Chief Executive Officer Of Delta Dental of Arkansas

Posted Aug 2021

By Delta Dental of Arkansas

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Kristin Merlo Named New President & Chief Executive Officer Of Delta Dental of Arkansas

Kristin Merlo
LITTLE ROCK, AR – Monday, August 23, 2021 – Delta Dental of Arkansas announced that the Board of Directors has appointed Kristin Merlo as the new President and Chief Executive Officer of Delta Dental of Arkansas, effective September 29, 2021. This announcement follows a comprehensive national search process led by a selection committee of the Board of Directors and supported by an executive search firm.

“We are pleased to welcome Kristin as our next President & CEO of Delta Dental of Arkansas,” said Wayne Callahan, chair of the board of Delta Dental of Arkansas. “Kristin brings a deep level of experience in business transformation, including information technology systems and sales and marketing platforms for growth. She follows the great leadership established by Ed Choate and will continue to build on the winning culture at Delta Dental of Arkansas for the future. Kristin has a passion for our business and brings a lot of energy to our mission.”

Merlo has served in senior leadership roles in the Delta Dental system over the past twenty-one years, most recently as senior vice president and chief operating officer for Delta Dental of Virginia (2018-2021) and with Delta Dental of Washington (2000-2018). Before joining Delta Dental, Merlo served in various sales, marketing, and brand management roles with Eli Lilly and Company.

Mrs. Merlo said, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead Delta Dental of Arkansas at such an exciting point in the company’s history. During my time working with and leading other Delta Dental plans, I have developed a deep understanding of the opportunities to build the Delta Dental brand and transform our different customers’ experience while focused on the core mission of improving the oral health of individuals and families in the state that our company serves.”

“Working in the Delta Dental system as long as I have and across functions and locations, it is a testament to the Delta Dental system that there is a career path, irrespective of gender, for anyone to become a CEO. To be one of three women CEOs in the Delta Dental system is a responsibility that is not lost on me. I am grateful to the many mentors I have had across the system.”

Merlo is a University of Virginia graduate, holding a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business. Merlo will succeed the current President & CEO Ed Choate, who is retiring. Choate completes 21 years of leading the organization to record revenues, profits, and growth, serving approximately 2.4 million members nationally.

About Delta Dental of Arkansas

Established in 1982, Delta Dental of Arkansas is the largest dental and vision insurance provider in the state, helping more than 800,000 Arkansans – and more than 2.4 million members nationally – stay healthy through commercial, Medicaid, and Medicare Advantage insurance plans. As a not-for-profit company, Delta Dental of Arkansas is committed to improving the oral health of Arkansans through the philanthropic efforts of its Foundation. The Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation has donated more than $25 million to support oral health education initiatives in the past 13 years. For more information, visit

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