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Health execs on the move: Wheeler retires, Feinberg moves to Cerner, Paz heads east, Gorsky departs J&J

Gabriel Perna | September 14, 2021

In this recurring article, we track the career moves of the Health Evolution community. For this version, we’re looking at who’s been on the move in August and September. If you recently made a career change,let us know here.      

Providers 

Penny Wheeler, MD

It was a busy month of executive movement from some of the most decorated members of the Health Evolution community. Penny Wheeler, MD, the CEO of the Minneapolis-based health system, Allina Health, announced her retirement at the end of the year. Wheeler has been CEO of Allina since 2014 when she was named both the first physician and first woman CEO of the 11-hospital system. Lisa Shannon, currently serving as Allina’s President and COO, was named Wheeler’s successor. “My journey has been inextricably linked with Allina Health since the day I was born at Abbott Northwestern Hospital,” said Wheeler in a statement. “It has been the ride of a lifetime and I am filled with tremendous gratitude and pride for what we have collectively been able to accomplish in service of others over the years.” 9/9 

Hal Paz, MD

Hal Paz, MD is also leaving as CEO of a large, Midwestern health system. Paz currently executive vice president and chancellor for health affairs at The Ohio State University and CEO of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, took a job as executive vice president for health sciences at Stony Brook University, effective October 4, 2021. At OSU, Paz has been responsible for seven health science colleges including more than 20 research institutes and an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center. OSU said it has begun a national search for Paz’s replacement. 9/1 

Robert S.D. Higgins, MD was named the President of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and executive vice president of Mass General Brigham, effective in December. Higgins comes from Johns Hopkins where he serves as surgeon-in-chief.  8/19 Speaking of Mass General Brigham, David F.M. Brown, MD was named the President of Mass General Hospital and an EVP at the health system. He replaces longtime MGH President Peter Slavin, MD, who announced his retirement plans back in April. 8/30 

Care New England Health System named Raymond Powrie, MD as the health system’s chief clinical officer. 8/22 

Jeff BoltonMayo Clinic’s Chief Administration Officer, is set to retire at the end of November. 8/23 

Ochsner Health named Corwin Harper as the CEO of its Northshore and Mississippi Gulf Coast region. Harper was most recently at Kaiser Permanente. 8/25 

Lynnette M. Watkins, MD was named president and CEO at Cooley Dickinson Health Care. 8/26 

Cleveland Clinic named Jim Cotelingam as the health system’s Chief Strategy Officer. 8/31 

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center appointed Omer Sultan as its CFO, effective Oct. 4. 8/31  

Dan Lundergan was named the CEO of University of Utah Health Hospitals and Clinics. He was serving as the organization’s interim CEO since February. 9/1 

Karen Teitelbaum, CEO of Sinai Health System
Karen Teitelbaum

Karen Teitelbaum, CEO of Sinai Chicago, is stepping down from the role at the end of the year. She plans to stay on as a senior executive consultant for the first six months of 2022 to help facilitate a transition to new leadership. Vince Williams, Chairman of Sinai Chicago’s Board, announced that the organization would conduct a nationwide search to select a new President and CEO. Teitelbaum has been CEO of Sinai Chicago since 2014, helping the hospital go from a $42 million loss to a $32.6 million profit.  9/2 

Summit Health appointed Jeffrey D. Alter as the new CEO of the health care network formed by the 2019 merger of Summit Medical Group and CityMD. 9/2 

Jeremy Clark was named CEO of Brookwood Baptist Health and Brookwood Baptist Medical Center, both in Birmingham, Alabama. 9/9 

Joanne SmithMD sadly passed away at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, where she was serving as CEO of the rehabilitation hospital in Chicago. 9/7 

Lastly, James Elrod, CEO of Willis-Knighton Health System in Shreveport, Louisiana, is retiring after 56 years of serving the organization in an admirative role. Elrod, who is stepping down at the end of the month, is the longest-tenured hospital administrator in America. Jaf Fielder II will take over as the health system’s next CEO. 9/11  

 

Tech/Other  

David Feinberg, MD

David Feinberg, MD has been appointed CEO of Cerner after serving as Vice President of Google Health. Feinberg takes over for Brent Shafer, who announced his intended exit as CEO of the EHR company in early May. Before Google, Feinberg was the longtime CEO of Geisinger Health System, where he led the transformation into a leading adopter of health IT systems and new models of care. “With his exceptional track record of leading and innovating programs to improve patient care, technology experience, and industry expertise, we believe Dr. Feinberg is the ideal CEO to lead Cerner in its next chapter of growth and success,” stated Mitch Daniels, member of the Cerner Board and Chair of the Nominating, Governance and Public Policy Committee. Cerner has seen other departures from in its executive suite in the past year as it shifts its focus from EHRs to one that’s aiming to create a $1 billion “data-as-a-business” segment. 8/14 

Current Health added several faces—Chris Pilkington, Sarah JoyceLauren Levisky, Mark Kaufman and Shardul Mehta—to its executive team. They will serve as Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Customer Officer, VP of Marketing, Chief Technology Officer, and Senior Vice President of Product, respectively. 8/24 

Tom Van Gilder, MD was named CMO of Better Health, a mental fitness coaching company. Van Gilder comes to Better Health from Walmart where he serves as CMO. 8/27 

Walgreens Boots Alliance added three names to its leadership team: Danielle Gray as EVP and Global Chief Legal Officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Tracey Brown as President of Retail Products and Chief Customer Officer, Jeff Gruener as SVP and Chief Financial Officer, Walgreens. 8/27 

GoodCell, a medically actionable health technology service company, named Chris Garcia as its new CEO. Prior to this role, Garcia was the CEO of Remedy Partners. 9/1 

Health tech platform company, DignifiHealth named Craig Sammit, MD, recently retired CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota and Gregory K. Park, Managing Partner at L37 Ventures, to its board of directors. 9/2 

Transcarent, a new health IT company with Glen Tullman as CEO, announced the appointment of Snezana Mahon, Pharm.D. as Chief Operating Officer. 9/2 Transcarent also appointed Stephanie Peng, previously of Vida Health as its new chief financial officer. 9/8 

WellSky, a health and community care technology company, announced that Andy Eilert has joined as President, Emerging Markets, effective immediately. 9/8 

Patrice Harris, MD, former President of the American Medical Association and CEO of eMed, joined Quartet Health’s board of directors. Quartet provides a platform that offers mental health services to patients with Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and commercial insurance plans. 9/9 

Aetion, a NYC-based health care technology company specializing in real-world evidence analysis, announced the appointment of Marla Kessler, former IQVIA executive as the company’s Chief Customer Officer. 9/14  

Talkiatry, a mental health tech company, announced Alex Kozersky as the company’s first Chief Growth Officer. 9/14 

 

Life Sciences 

Alex Gorsky

Alex Gorsky, Chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, is stepping down from the role at the beginning of next year, the company announced. Gorsky, who has been the CEO of J&J since 2012, said he is leaving for “family health reasons.” Joaquin Duato, who is currently vice chairman of the executive committee and leading the company’s internal COVID-19 response, will take over as CEO. Gorsky helped increase R&D investments at J&J by 60 percent and improve its sales in oncology from $2 billion to $12 billion in 10 years. He also oversaw the company’s $30 billion acquisition of Actelion. 8/19 

Ellis Unger, MD retired from the FDA after 25 years at the agency for personal reasons, according to reports. 8/13 Also leaving the agency this past month was Marion Gruber, PhD, who was FDA’s director of vaccine research and review and her top deputy, Philip Krause. The FDA’s director for the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Peter Marks, MD, PhD will be the acting director of the vaccine unit until Gruber’s replacement is named. 8/31 

Timothy Scannell announced his retirement from MedTech giant Stryker after three decades at the company. Scannell was the President and COO of the company. 8/19 

Aamir Malik joined Pfizer as the company’s lead for M&A after serving as co-U.S. managing partner of McKinsey & Company. 8/26 

Tal Zaks, MD, PhD, former CMO of Moderna, was named a director on the board of Israeli pharma, Teva. 8/31 

Former FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD joined YourBio Health as the company’s interim CMO. YourBio Health is a new COVID-19 diagnostics and blood collection company. 9/9 

  

Payers 

Providence Health Plan named Don Antonucci its new CEO. Antonucci comes to Providence from Blue Shield of California, where he served as senior vice president of growth. He takes over for Michael White, who was serving in an interim capacity after Mike Cotton left the company last year. 8/17 

Gail Boudreaux, CEO of Anthem, was named to Target’s board of directors. 8/12 

Allina Health Aetna announced Monica Nierengarten as the company’s new Chief Operations Officer. 8/25 

Zing Health, a Medicare Advantage plan, named Vrajesh Shah as its Chief Information Officer. 8/31 

Centene announced two changes to its leadership team. Sarah London, currently President, Centene Health Care Enterprises and Executive Vice President of Advanced Technology, was appointed Vice Chairman, Centene Board of Directors. Also, Brent Layton, currently President of Centene U.S. Health plans, Products and International and Executive Vice President, is set to become President and Chief Operating Officer at Centene. 9/7 

Senator William “Mo” Cowan is joining Medicare Advantage company, Devoted Health, as its new Chief Legal and External Affairs Officer. Cowan served as the interim United States Senator for Massachusetts in 2013 after serving a number of roles within the state government. He was most recently with GE. 9/7 

About the Author

Gabriel Perna, Senior Manager, Digital Content

Gabriel Perna is the Senior Manager of Digital Content at Health Evolution. He brings 10+ years of experience in covering the intersection of health care and business. Previously, he was at Chief Executive, Physicians Practice and Healthcare Informatics. You can reach him via email at gabrielp@healthevolution.com or on Twitter at @GabrielSPerna