10 notable CEO transitions this year

Becker's Hospital Review reported on CEO transitions at hospitals and health systems across the U.S. in 2022. 

While one move stood out for the CEO's unusually short tenure, others stood out as resignations and retirements from prominent health systems. A few sudden firings also piqued interest throughout the year. 

Here are 10 of this year's hospital and health system CEO moves that captured the attention of Becker's readers. 

Note: This list includes transitions that have been among the most popular with readers and is not exhaustive.

1. Akram Boutros, MD, was fired from Cleveland-based MetroHealth System Nov. 21. Health system board members said that between 2018 and 2022, Dr. Boutros set goals for himself, evaluated himself against those goals and authorized more than $1.9 million in supplemental bonuses for himself, without disclosure to the board. Dr. Boutros, who planned to retire at the end of 2022, alleges board retaliation and denies wrongdoing. He sued MetroHealth over alleged violations of Ohio's Open Meetings Act and the board bylaws. He specifically accuses the board of violating the law in its hiring of Airica Steed, EdD, RN. MetroHealth named Dr. Steed the health system's next president and CEO in September. Dr. Steed, who was executive vice president and system COO of Sinai Chicago Health System, took the helm of MetroHealth Dec. 5.

2. Tony Slonim, MD, was fired from Reno, Nev.-based Renown Health in March after an internal investigation. "Following the completion of a thorough investigation of concerns raised to the board of directors, the board determined that Renown Health, its patients and staff required new leadership. Accordingly, Dr. Slonim has been terminated with cause as CEO of Renown Health," a health system news release said at the time. Brian Erling, MD, a former executive with Centennial, Colo.-based Centura Health, is the current CEO of Renown Health.

3. Michael La Coste, CEO of Gonzales (Texas) Healthcare Systems, terminated his contract with the organization in November after about four months on the job. The termination was a mutual decision between Mr. La Coste and the health system board. Before joining Gonzales Healthcare Systems, Mr. La Coste was COO of Dallas-based Steward Health Care's Florida Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale. Gonzales Healthcare Systems' website lists Gerald Parton as the current CEO. 

4. Scott Elner, DO, resigned as CEO of Billings (Mont.) Clinic in August. "I am honored to have worked with an incredible group of caregivers and physicians dedicated to providing better healthcare to our communities in Montana and Wyoming," Dr. Ellner said in his resignation letter, according to a health system news release at the time. The Billings Clinic board of directors accepted Dr. Ellner's resignation and appointed Clint Seger, MD, interim CEO. Dr. Seger, a family medicine physician, has served as regional chief medical officer for the past eight years. 

5. Arthur Kellerman, MD, resigned in November as health sciences senior vice president and CEO of Richmond, Va.-based VCU Health System. He was given the option after the university board of visitors and health system board of directors announced plans to unseat him. Marlon Levy, MD — chief medical officer of VCU Medical Center, chair of the division of transplant surgery and director of Hume-Lee Transplant Center — was selected as interim senior vice president and CEO.

6. Rob Allen, the chief operating officer of Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare, was promoted to CEO in November. He succeeds Marc Harrison, MD, who accepted a role running a healthcare platform business for General Catalyst. Dr. Harrison had helmed the health system since 2017. 

7. Baligh Yehia, MD, was named president of Philadelphia-based Jefferson Health. He previously served in various leadership roles at St. Louis-based Ascension, including senior vice president, chief medical officer and president of Ascension Medical Group. Dr. Yehia succeeds Bruce Meyer, MD, who accepted a role with Pittsburgh-based Highmark Health overseeing payer-provider strategy. 

8. Wright Lassiter III left his role as president and CEO of Detroit-based Henry Ford Health in August after more than seven years at the helm. He took a new position as CEO of Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health —  succeeding Lloyd Dean, who announced his retirement in December 2021 after a 22-year tenure. Robert Riney, former COO of Henry Ford Health, was named interim CEO and promoted to the permanent post the next month. 

9. Craig Thompson, MD, stepped down as CEO of New York City-based Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center after more than 11 years in the role. Dr. Thompson remained in the role until Selwyn Vickers, MD, former senior vice president for medicine and dean of the Heersink School of Medicine at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, was named his replacement. Dr. Thompson still heads the laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering. 

10. Paul Rothman, MD, CEO of Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine and dean of the medical faculty at the university's medical school, retired July 1. Theodore DeWeese, MD, the vice dean for clinical affairs and president of the Johns Hopkins Clinical Practice Association, was named interim CEO and dean. "I have long envisioned myself as a ten-year dean/CEO," Dr. Rothman wrote in a message to the Johns Hopkins community. "A decade felt like the right time horizon to help advance the missions of JHM. That vision was crystallized by the COVID-19 pandemic, which demanded so much of our institution and our community. Two years later, I believe that we have navigated the worst of the pandemic, and it is time for a new leader to guide us forward."

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