Mark Neaman has spent his entire career in the northern Chicago suburb of Evanston, Ill., on the shores of Lake Michigan. It's a good place to be for a hospital executive, as evidenced by the growth over the years of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, the system Neaman leads as president and chief executive officer. When Neaman was named an Up & Comer in 1987 at the age of 36, he said: “My philosophy is not to have a high profile, and that anything can be accomplished as long as you don't care who gets the credit for it.”
Seventeen years later, that copacetic low profile would be challenged when the feds decided to pounce. The Federal Trade Commission filed an antitrust lawsuit in 2004, saying Evanston's merger with Highland Park (Ill.) Hospital in 2000 was anti-competitive and forced consumers and insurers to pay higher prices.
In 2005, an administrative law judge ruled the merger should be broken up, but the system appealed the decision to the full FTC. On Aug. 6, it unanimously affirmed the decision, although Evanston Northwestern called it a victory as the system did not have to sell Highland Park Hospital, which is now considered a separate organization and must negotiate on its own. As he was fending off the FTC's litigation, Neaman received Modern Healthcare's CEO IT Achievement Award in 2005 as one of the earlier adopters of an electronic health-record system.
His career at the system goes back to 1974, when he arrived as an administrative assistant at Evanston Hospital after receiving his master's degree in healthcare administration. Neaman, now 56, became president and CEO 18 years later, and from there he went on to assume leadership roles within the system.