* Denton Cooley, the famed transplant surgeon who founded the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Houston, in 1962, will be replaced as president of the institute by James Willerson, 64, president of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. As president-elect, Willerson will immediately begin sharing executive duties with the 84-year-old Cooley, who achieved international renown when he implanted the first artificial heart in a human patient in 1969. A full change of guard at the heart institute could take place as soon as a year from now. The institute has been ranked among the nation's top 10 heart centers for the past 14 years in rankings by U.S. News & World Report. Willerson, a cardiologist, has been the institute's medical director since 1993 and is chief of cardiology at St. Luke's Episcopal. He will also continue as president of the Health Science Center.
* Peter Leibold, executive vice president and CEO of the 9,500-member American Health Lawyers Association, has resigned after five years to serve as chief Washington deputy to John Danforth, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. It's the second time Leibold has worked for the former
U.S. senator from Missouri. Leibold served as the legislative director, chief of staff and counsel for judicial affairs for Danforth, who was confirmed by the Senate in June. Before taking the AHLA post, Leibold, 41, served as general counsel to the Catholic Health Association from 1996 to 1999 and worked for the Washington law office of Bryan Cave. The AHLA's COO, Wayne Miller, is currently serving as acting CEO. AHLA President Dick Cowart has formed a search committee and expects to name a CEO by mid-2005.