Healthcare Business News
Matt Gerlach, president and CEO Salinas Valley

Gerlach named CEO at Salinas Valley

By Rachel Landen
Posted: February 14, 2013 - 10:30 am ET

Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, Salinas, Calif., has named Matt Gerlach president and CEO.

Gerlach, 57, will succeed interim CEO Lowell Johnson, who was appointed to the temporary position in April 2011. Gerlach is expected to assume the lead in March after he leaves his current job as VP and COO at Glendale (Calif.) Memorial Hospital and Health Center. He previously held executive roles with Providence Health and Services, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan, and Keck Hospital of USC.

“Matt is an exceptional leader, and he is just the right person to see this organization through the transformational years to come,” Harry Wardwell, board president, said in a news release.

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The board voted unanimously to hire Gerlach and approve his compensation. The taxpayer-subsidized public hospital came under scrutiny last year for the size of the severance package—worth $4.9 million—given to retiring CEO Sam Downing, leading to a critical report from the California state auditor (PDF).

In determining Gerlach's annual salary of $450,000, the board members used data from a market analysis of CEO salaries at similar organizations. They targeted a salary within a range of $335,500 to $522,100, and set Gerlach's health and pension benefits to be the same as those of all other nonunion hospital employees.

Salinas Valley Memorial reported operating income of $171,000 on operating revenue of $326 million in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012, recovering from a $7.4 million loss a year earlier.

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