Veteran hospital executive Gail Warden last week announced that he plans to step down as president and chief executive officer of five-hospital Henry Ford Health System in 2003 or 2004.
Although the announcement came just days after Detroit-based Henry Ford said it was cutting hundreds of jobs to stem losses (See related story, p. 14), Warden said his decision was not linked to those plans.
"My retirement has nothing to do with the fact that we laid off 500 people this week," he said. "This is something that has been planned for quite some time. The board and I have discussed that my retirement would take place sometime in 2003 or 2004."
Warden, 63, announced his retirement during a panel discussion on veteran CEOs' experiences at the annual Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy Conference in Washington. Warden told a crowd of 300 that he would announce the formation of a CEO search committee.
A past chairman of the National Committee for Quality Assurance, Warden was appointed by President Clinton to the federal Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry. He also chaired the American Hospital Association's board of trustees and the Hospital Research and Educational Trust's board of directors.
Warden also won the American Hospital Association's Distinguished Service Award, its highest leadership recognition; the first Walter J. McNerney Fellowship Award for Health System Improvement; and the American College of Healthcare Executives' 1999 Gold Medal Award. Warden joined Henry Ford in 1988. Before that he served as president and CEO of the Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound in Seattle and executive vice president of the AHA. zxxx
-With Jonathan Gardner