CommonSpirit CEO Lloyd Dean to retire in 2022: 10 things to know

Lloyd Dean, CEO of 140-hospital CommonSpirit Health, will retire from the organization next summer.

Mr. Dean's tenure at the top of the nonprofit, Catholic health system spans 22 years. He served as the CEO of Dignity Health, previously Catholic Healthcare West, for 19 years before becoming CEO of $30 billion CommonSpirit, the Chicago-based entity resulting from the merger of Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives in February 2019.

CommonSpirit's board has created a search committee to identify Mr. Dean's successor. 

Here are 10 things to know about Mr. Dean, his career and his accomplishments as a healthcare leader. 

1. "It's been the job of my life, and I cannot overstate how much I have enjoyed every moment of it, nor how much I believe in the future of CommonSpirit Health," Mr. Dean said in a statement. "I remain laser-focused on providing care to our patients and communities, advancing our integration as a single organization to achieve better outcomes and lower costs and meeting with policy makers to create a regulatory environment in which providers can serve their communities for decades to come."

2. "Lloyd has both been an incredible leader to watch and observe and the very best the world has to offer in the mix of compassion and intelligence-focused leadership," said Becker's Healthcare Founder and Publisher Scott Becker. "There is no better leader and reflection of what leadership can be than Lloyd Dean. I am privileged to call Lloyd a friend and confidant and he is literally one of the finest leaders I have ever had the chance to get to know well, and I have been lucky to visit with a lot of leaders. None are better than Lloyd Dean, a remarkable person."

3. CommonSpirit was formed with the central mission to serve the most vulnerable, shift from sick care to well care, and advocate for social justice. It aims to carry on the mission of the Catholic women behind the two original systems — Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives — by actively advocating for positive social change.

4. Having experienced inequitable access to healthcare himself, Mr. Dean's voice has become one of the most influential in the fight for health equity. He is Black and grew up in Muskegon, Mich., as the second oldest of nine children. Like most in his community, his family did not have health insurance. His first physician visit occurred when he was in junior high school and needed to pass a physical exam to play football. 

5. Mr. Dean embraced a leadership role in advocating for healthcare reform. He worked directly with congressional leaders and participated in discussions with President Barack Obama during the formation of the Affordable Care Act, supporting the 2010 passage of the landmark law.

6. More recently, in December 2020, CommonSpirit formed a 10-year, $100 million partnership with Morehouse School of Medicine to develop and train more Black physicians for more culturally competent care and to help address underlying causes of health disparities, and has added well-known brands like Virginia Mason in Washington to its organization.

7. "One of the reasons this nation hasn't been able to impactfully address racism is because we accept incremental gains or episodic related solutions," Mr. Dean said during a Becker's event in June 2020. "We cannot accept as a nation Band-Aids being put on cancers. We have to figure out how we are going to treat this in a systematic way. … We have got to have a multifaceted set of solutions for a multifaceted issue."

8. "During his 22 years of service, Lloyd has been one of our country's leading voices for expanding access to quality healthcare," said Tessie Guillermo, chairwoman of CommonSpirit's board. "He was a driving force behind establishing and growing CommonSpirit into one of the country's largest, most diverse and leading health systems, with more than 1,500 care sites, 140 hospitals and 150,000 employees and physicians across 22 states. Lloyd steered our organization through one of the most important periods for healthcare in our country's history, and we will forever be grateful for his leadership." 

9. Mr. Dean began his career outside of healthcare, serving as a junior high teacher, paralegal assistant and local TV news anchor in Battle Creek, Mich., from 1972 to 1978. Pharmaceutical executive Lawrence Hoff recruited him to work at his company, Upjohn, in 1978. Mr. Dean ascended from an assistant regional manager role in the healthcare division to executive vice president of marketing and operations before relocating to Illinois, where he worked at Consumer Health Service, EHS Healthcare and Advocate Health Care. In 2000, he was recruited to join Catholic Healthcare West (later renamed Dignity Health), one of the country's largest nonprofit health care systems, with 43 hospitals in three states.

10. Mr. Dean has served on several boards, including trustee or chair positions for McDonald's Corp., California Future Health Workforce Commission, Wells Fargo, Navigant Consulting, Catholic Health Association of the United States, Mercy Housing California and Cytori Therapeutics. 

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