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Keith Williamson

Centene Corp.

williamson-keithKeith Williamson’s siblings have careers in law and business. As the youngest child who looked up to his brother and sister, he decided to combine the two.

Williamson worked as a tax attorney before joining Centene, a multinational company based in Clayton that provides services to governmental healthcare programs. As the company’s executive vice president, secretary and general counsel, he oversees the company’s legal and compliance operations.

“It was definitely an exciting opportunity both in those years before the enactment and the various challenges post-enactment with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” Williamson said. “It’s obviously going to be a very exciting period as we now focus on how to navigate the repeal and replace policy that will be the mission of the next administration.”

Williamson comes from a family of high achievers, but neither of his parents were lawyers. A high school teacher suggested a legal career would be a good match for his argumentative teenage personality, but he brushed off the idea at the time. It wasn’t until later that he realized being an attorney would combine his family’s history of high achievement with an interest in public policy.

“The opportunity to understand how policies are made and the opportunity to have an impact on them was appealing to me,” Williamson said.

He is Centene’s first general counsel.

“I think being in-house fits in with my original inclinations to be able to combine law and business,” Williamson said. “It’s an opportunity to leverage both perspectives and to do legal work but also be very hands on and involved with leadership and direction setting for a business.”

In addition to his work at Centene, Williamson sits on numerous boards for both non-profit and for-profit companies, including the PPL Corporation, a utility holding company based in Pennsylvania.

“It’s a fascinating way to be involved in a business without necessarily being immersed in day-to-day operations of that business,” Williamson said.

In addition to for-profit work, Williamson is deeply involved in the community. His activities include serving as co-chair for United Way’s African American giving initiative, helping to found the KIPP charter school network, and sitting on boards including the St. Louis Art Museum, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, and Mathew-Dickeys Boys’ & Girls’ Club.

Williamson is also passing his interest in law to his family’s next generation. His daughter, Nicole, starts at Harvard Law School in the fall.