John Forsyth, president and CEO of Des Moines-based Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has been elected as chairman of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s board of directors.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) is made up of 37 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, among them Wellmark, that collectively provide health care coverage for 100 million Americans.

In assuming leadership of BCBSA’s governing body, Forsyth will preside over quarterly meetings of the association’s board of directors, which sets policies for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies and provides strategic guidance and oversight for the association.

“John has been an exemplary leader, innovator, and steward not only for Blue Cross and Blue Shield members in Iowa and South Dakota, but for the Blues as a whole,” said Scott Serota, president and CEO of the BCBSA, which is based in Chicago.

Forsyth’s term begins immediately and runs through November 2014.