Harvey Holzberg, president and CEO of 482-bed Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, N.J., announced he would retire after "an orderly transition" to new leadership, probably by the end of the year.
Holzberg, 66, says he will remain president and CEO of the four-hospital parent, Robert Wood Johnson Health System, and chairman of eight-hospital Robert Wood Johnson Health Network for another two years.
His successor will report directly to the hospital board, although the CEOs of the system's other hospitals report to Holzberg. The hospital board, which has been "succession planning for years," will conduct "an abbreviated nationwide search for a successor," Holzberg says.
One likely candidate is Clifton Lacy, who is preparing to step down from a three-year tenure as commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. Before his state appointment, Lacy, a cardiologist, spent his entire career at Robert Wood Johnson, most recently as senior vice president of medical affairs and chief of staff.
Lacy "obviously brings very strong credentials," Holzberg says.
Holzberg became president and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson in 1989 and is credited as being the architect of the health system and network. This month, he begins serving as national chairman of the Council of Teaching Hospitals at the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Under Holzberg's leadership, the Robert Wood Johnson system spearheaded the successful effort to quash a physician gain-sharing demonstration project that was launched by the CMS and the New Jersey Hospital Association in January. The plaintiffs argued in a lawsuit that the project created an uneven playing field that favored a select group of hospitals. The CMS abandoned the project last month (Nov. 1, p. 18).