Aetna, a health care benefits company, has appointed Charles Saunders as head of Strategic Diversification, effective on 31 January 2011.

In this role, Saunders will be responsible for the diversification of Aetna products, services and global opportunities, reporting to senior executive vice president and chief financial officer Joseph Zubretsky.

Most recently, Saunders was an executive in residence for Warburg Pincus, a private equity firm, where he provided strategic leadership on assessing and pursuing growth opportunities. Previous to this, he was the chairman and CEO of Broadlane, a technology-enabled health care services company.

Aetna chief finacial officer Joseph Zubretsky said with extraordinary accomplishments in both health care and business, Saunders is the ideal person to help Aetna identify new growth opportunities and develop market strategies that can help the company profitably manage quality and cost for customers.

Aetna offers traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans.