* Rick Wolfert will move from president and CEO of GE Healthcare Financial Services to the newly created position of vice chairman of commercial finance at the CIT Group, a commercial and consumer finance company, effective Sept. 13. Wolfert, 50, ranked No. 82 on Modern Healthcare's 2004 list of the 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare (Aug. 23, p. 6). With 25 years of financial services experience, he has led the GE healthcare finance division since 2001. Before joining GE, he was president and COO of Heller Financial Corp. He integrated the Heller Financial Healthcare business with several healthcare finance businesses within GE Capital after GE's acquisition of Heller in 2001. CIT officials said in a news release that Wolfert's appointment underscores "the company's strategy of targeting high-growth economic sectors." The healthcare industry is one of CIT's "key target sectors going forward," says Jeffrey Peek, CIT's president and CEO. Wolfert will be responsible for all of CIT's day-to-day business operations along with Thomas Hallman, CIT's vice chairman of specialty finance.
* Donald Smithburg , a Texas healthcare consultant and former hospital administrator, has been tapped as the next head of Louisiana State University's public hospital system. Smithburg, 43, was selected by John Rock, chancellor of the LSU Health Sciences Center, from a pool of three finalists recommended by a search committee and a national search firm. Rock says Smithburg has expertise in hospital restructuring and bailing out financially struggling hospitals that treat large numbers of poor patients. Smithburg would oversee eight of the state's 10 charity hospitals, including those in Baton Rouge and Lafayette. The hospitals' operating budget is $849 million for the current budget year. Smithburg has been a consultant for the past year after resigning as president and CEO of University Medical Center, which managed two hospitals connected with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "I think he's a good choice," says William Jenkins, president of the LSU system. "He's run hospitals. He has a long history, especially with safety net hospitals." The appointment is expected to receive final approval by the LSU board of supervisors in September.