Who: Dr. Benjamin Chu, 64
New role: President and CEO of Memorial Hermann Health System, effective in June. He is the first physician leader in the Houston-based system's history. Chu will take over for Dan Wolterman, 59, who has been at the helm since 2002.
Background: Chu is executive VP of Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plans and a group president of Kaiser's Southern California and Georgia regions. He joined Kaiser in February 2005.
Promoting teamwork: Chu believes the worst leaders are the ones who fail to acknowledge the roles of team members in a well-run organization. “Leaders are important, but they can never do it all by themselves,” he said. Chu said he plans to develop a core team of leaders who could some day take over for him.
A proactive approach: Memorial Hermann has the same challenges that face other healthcare organizations, Chu said, given the increasingly competitive environment. He said the tools exist to deliver care outside of the hospital setting, and for the system to be more consumer-driven. But a proactive mindset is key. “We have to anticipate what patients need and provide it for them, and adopt the healthiest practices if we're going to be successful,” he said.