Gundersen Health System, La Crosse, Wis., has selected Dr. Scott Rathgaber, one of its own physician executives, as its next CEO.
Rathgaber, 53, a medical VP at Gundersen, was selected after an “extensive internal search,” according to the hospital system. Starting in September, he will replace longtime CEO Dr. Jeff Thompson, who announced in January that he would step down this year after leading Gundersen for the past 14 years.
Thompson will stay on at the system for a period of time to help Rathgaber manage the transition.
A gastroenterologist by background, Rathgaber has been a medical VP at Gundersen since 2012, overseeing hospital operations, neurosciences, general surgery, anesthesiology, emergency services, occupational health services and pharmacy. He has practiced gastroenterology and hepatology at Gundersen since 1998, and served as gastroenterology chief from 2005 to 2011.
Rathgaber also served on Gundersen's board of governors from 2010 to 2012. He is Gundersen's third CEO since the Gundersen Clinic and Lutheran Hospital merged in 1995.
Before joining Gundersen, Rathgaber practiced gastroenterology and hepatology for five years at the Burns Clinic in Petoskey, Mich.
Gundersen is known nationally for its commitment to the environment. Last fall, it became the first U.S. healthcare organization to publicly change its portfolio's fossil fuel securities when it decided to freeze all future investments in fossil fuels. Its hospital is also energy independent, running entirely on self-produced, renewable energy.