INDIANAPOLIS – WellPoint Inc., the parent company of Thousand Oaks-based Blue Cross of California, surprised some analysts with its choice for a new CEO: a lesser-known executive who will become the highest-ranking woman in the Fortune 500. Angela F. Braly, a lawyer with deal-making experience and public-policy savvy, was tapped to take over when Larry Glasscock retires June 1. Glasscock, 58, announced his retirement Monday, citing family reasons. The company would not elaborate on his reasons for leaving. He will remain non-executive chairman. WellPoint is the nation’s largest health insurer. It ranked 38th in the 2006 Fortune 500 list of the largest U.S. companies. The next highest company with a female leader is No. 56 Archer Daniels Midland Co., headed by Patricia A. Woertz. Braly, currently a WellPoint executive vice president, said she might bring “great perspective” to the new role because of her gender. She noted that women make up 77 percent of WellPoint’s 42,000 employees and more than half of its management ranks. “What we know at WellPoint is that 70 percent of the health care decisions are made by women, so I think it’s a very natural place for me to be, both as a businesswoman and as a consumer of health care for my family,” said Braly, who is married and has three school-age children. The company’s choice came as a “major shock” to CIBC World Markets analyst Carl McDonald. “We want to emphasize that our issue is not with Braly herself, as she very well could be the perfect person for the role,” McDonald wrote. “We just don’t know her, and neither does the market.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!