Ascension has named Patricia Maryland as CEO of its giant healthcare division, replacing longtime Ascension second-in-command Bob Henkel, who is retiring in June.
Maryland had been Henkel's right-hand executive since 2013 as chief operating officer, Ascension CEO AnthonyTersigni said.
As CEO of Ascension Healthcare, Maryland will oversee 141 hospitals and 2,500 ambulatory clinics across 24 states. Catholic-sponsored Ascension is the nation's largest not-for-profit hospital company with fiscal 2016 revenue of $21.9 billion.
St. Louis-based Ascension also has recruited DePaul University President Rev. Dennis Holtschneider as an executive vice president with responsibility for the Ascension Solutions Division subsidiaries of Ascension Information Services and the Ascension Ministry Service Center, as well as Ascension's national strategy and advocacy functions.
“We are blessed to have a leader of the caliber and strength of Pat Maryland in Ascension to take on the additional responsibilities of leading our Healthcare Division," Tersigni said. "I can think of no better way to ensure a seamless transition that will support the continued success of our work in support of our mission."
The change has been mapped out for some time as part of a systemwide succession-planning endeavor that includes 2,000 high-ranking executives, Tersigni said.
Henkel has agreed, Tersigni said, to participate after retirement in a newly formed subsidiary known as the Ascension Consulting Network, which will provide retired senior leaders with opportunities to serve in other Catholic healthcare ministries.
Henkel has been with Ascension since the system was formed through the 1999 merger of the Daughters of Charity National Health System and the Sisters of St. Joseph Health System. Henkel had served as president of the Daughters of Charity system for a year before the merger was completed.
“Bob Henkel has been one of the most influential and important leaders of Ascension and the entire healthcare industry,” Tersigni said.
Before becoming COO of Ascension Healthcare in 2013, Maryland led Ascension's large hospital operation in Detroit under the St. John Providence brand and was president of St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital. She has appeared on Modern Healthcare's biennial lists of the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare and the Top 25 Women in Healthcare.
Last year Ascension launched a rebranding initiative, in which it is putting the Ascension name in front of all hospitals and sites to promote the system's national strength.