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Merged health system to get new CEO

Rochester Business Journal
June 3, 2014

The chief executives at Rochester General Health System and Unity Health System are not candidates for CEO of the merged organization. A search for a new CEO has commenced.

Unity president and CEO Warren Hern and RGHS president and CEO Mark Clement have taken themselves out of the running for the post, officials announced Tuesday.

In a move Clement and Hern themselves suggested some 15 months ago, the pair will serve as co-CEOs for as little as six months after the merger finalizes. They will bow out after a new CEO is named, RGHS chairman Robert Dobies said.

Hern said he and Clement would be available as consultants during the transition period to help orient the new CEO.

Recently given the green light by the state Department of Health and the Federal Trade Commission, the RGHS-Unity merger is expected to be completed in mid-July. It will combine the region’s second- and third-largest health systems, creating a regional health care network spanning four counties.

With some 14,000 workers, the merged system—still unnamed—will become the region’s second-largest employer, topped only by the University of Rochester. UR’s more than 20,000 employees include roughly 14,000 at its medical center.

Hern and Clement said they believed the merged organization would be best served by a new leader.

“It is the right thing to do to identify a new CEO to inspire and lead the vision for the new system,” Clement said.  

Dobies named a leadership team roughly evenly split between Unity and RGHS administrative and clinical executives that would immediately begin to serve as the merged system’s top managers.

The appointees are:

  • Hugh Thomas, RGHS senior vice president of ambulatory care and general counsel, who will serve as the merged system’s chief administrative officer;
  • Thomas Crilly, Unity chief financial officer, who was named CFO of the merged system;
  • John Glynn, Unity chief information officer, who will be the merged system’s CIO;
  • Wendy Wilts, Unity’s senior vice president of clinical services lines and vice president of strategic planning and business, who will be chief integration officer;
  • Robert Mayo M.D., RGHS chief medical officer, who will serve in the same post at the merged system;
  • Robert Nesselbush, Rochester General Hospital president and RGHS senior vice president of acute care, named the merged system’s Health Services Division executive vice president;
  • Bridgette Wiefling M.D., RGHS vice president of clinical innovation, who will serve as the merged system’s chief clinical innovation officer;
  • Michael Nazar M.D., Unity senior vice president of clinical affairs, Unity Medical Group, who will be chief of medical groups in the merged system;  
  • Donald Felter, Unity president of senior housing, named president of housing for the merged system;  
  • Janine Schue, RGHS senior vice president human resources, named chief HR officer; and
  • Chris Mahan, RGHS senior vice president of development and Rochester General Hospital Foundation president, who will serve as president of the merged system’s foundations.
  • Angela Panzarella, president of ACM Medical Laboratory Inc., will continue to head the medical testing and clinical trials subsidiary, a for-profit unit wholly owned by Unity.

Unity and RGHS previously agreed on a four-officer slate of directors to guide the merged system. Dobies chairs the new board. Unity board chairman Michael Nuccitelli is its vice chairman. Unity board member Faheem Masood is the new board’s treasurer; RGHS board member Robert Sands is secretary.

The CEO search is hoped to be completed by the end of the year, Dobie said.

Also expected by year’s end, Clement said, is the incorporation into the merged system of Clifton Springs Hospital and Clinic in Ontario County and United Memorial Health System in Genesee County. Both are in the process of merging with RGHS.  

(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail

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