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North Dakota Blue Cross hires top executive

FARGO (AP) - Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota has hired a new president and chief executive officer after the company's previous chief was canned following nearly $80 million in financial losses.

The company announced Monday that Chief Operating Officer Tim Huckle will serve as president and CEO. Huckle had been serving as the interim chief since May, when Paul von Ebers was fired.

Board chair Ann McConn says in a statement that the 13-member board unanimously voted to hire Huckle, who has logged 29 years with the state's dominate insurer.

Huckle also served as interim CEO and president in 2009 after former CEO Mike Unhjem was fired amid criticism over an expensive Caribbean retreat for the insurer's employees.