Charleston tech firm Benefitfocus names new CEO, its second since August – Charleston Post Courier

Benefitfocus Inc. is naming a new top executive for the second time in nine months. 

The Daniel Island-based technology company announced May 4 that Matthew Levin will replace Stephen Swad as president and CEO. He also will join the board of directors.

Levin most recently was chief strategy officer at payroll processor ADP. He starts at Benefitfocus on May 10.

“Matt is a seasoned leader who has demonstrated his ability to execute innovative growth strategies,” Doug Dennerline, a company director who will become chairman at the 2021 meeting of shareholders, said in a written statement. “He will be an outstanding leader for Benefitfocus, with the skillset and experience to continue advancing the company’s strategy and take its performance to the next level.”

Swad, a former CEO of the language-learning software firm Rosetta Stone Inc., joined Benefitfocus as a director in late 2013, shortly after the company went public. He became chief financial officer in mid-2019 and was replaced Ray August as CEO last summer, about three months after a firm led by Benefitfocus board member Lanham Napier invested $80 million into the company.

Swad will remain a director and become an adviser to Levin until September to ensure a smooth management transition, the company said.  

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Steve Swad (copy) (copy)

Steve Swad is stepping down as CEO of Benefitfocus Inc. File/Provided

Dennerline thanked the outgoing CEO “for his willingness to step in and provide leadership to the company during a particularly dynamic and challenging period.”

In the same statement, Swad said he the board agreed that Levin “is the right leader to build on our progress and strategy.”

Benefitfocus sells subscriptions to a cloud-based technology platform that workers use to manage their benefits.  

Like many companies, it saw sales suffer during the COVID-19 clampdown, forcing it to rein in spending. A $23 million cost-cutting plan announced about a year ago eliminated 250 jobs, or 16 percent of the work force.

Benefitfocus hasn’t turned annual profit since its initial public offering and has racked up more than $400 million of losses over the past decade. It stock, which peaked at $77, now trades around $13.25.

This year, Benenfitfocus has come under fire from a large shareholder. Indaba Capital Management, a San Francisco-based hedge fund that has acquired nearly 10 percent of the stock since last fall, wants the company to shake up its board and explore alternatives, including a sale of the business.

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