Dr. Cliff Megerian, a respected researcher and clinician, has been tapped as the next CEO of University Hospitals.
Megerian, currently president of UH Physician Network and UH System Institutes, will succeed Thomas Zenty III, who announced this fall that he will retire in January 2021 after nearly 18 years leading the health system. Zenty is the longest-serving leader of Cleveland's health systems, which comprise UH, Cleveland Clinic and MetroHealth. Under Zenty's leadership, UH grew from three hospitals to 18.
During the interim period, Megerian will serve as president of the health system, according to a UH news release.
"Cliff has the clinical, academic and operational experience that this role requires, along with a deep appreciation for the character of UH, our mission and vision," said Arthur Anton, chair of the UH board of directors, in a prepared statement. "He is an accomplished physician and scientist, with impeccable patient-care, research and teaching credentials based on decades of experience. These characteristics, in addition to his keen insight into healthcare strategy and trends, will serve our health system well going forward."
For the past year, a succession planning committee of the UH board engaged in a "thoughtful and deliberate succession planning process," Anton said in the release. The committee "analyzed the future needs of the health system and established a profile of the qualities and characteristics desired in an ideal candidate for the CEO position," according to the release.
As president of UH Physician Network, Megerian currently reports to the CEO and has been a member of the executive committee. Previously, Megerian served as chair of the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, from 2012 until 2018, after holding the vice chairman role for five years, according to the release, which notes he was also director of the UH Ear, Nose & Throat Institute for seven years.
Additionally, he held the inaugural Richard and Patricia Pogue Endowed Chair in Auditory Surgery and Hearing Sciences and was director of otology, neurotology and lateral skull base surgery at UH. He is currently professor of otolaryngology—head and neck surgery at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
"I am truly grateful and humbled to have received the support of the UH board of directors to lead UH as we embark on a new chapter in our history," Megerian said in a prepared statement. "I will work closely with the board, Tom Zenty, fellow leaders and caregivers throughout the health system to assure a seamless leadership transition. We will collaboratively create the strategies for UH to continue advancing the science of health and the art of compassion."
A pioneer in the use of cochlear implants in children, Megerian is recognized as an international authority in ear surgery, according to the release. He has received more than a dozen research grant awards and completed several projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, according to the release.
Megerian received his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School and completed his internship and residences at University Hospitals, followed by a fellowship at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School, according to the release. He also holds a management certificate from CWRU's Weatherhead School of Management.
"We are highly confident about the future of our great health system with Cliff's leadership," Anton said in his statement. "The role of leadership is to create an environment where our 28,000 caregivers, researchers and teachers are able to achieve their potential and rise to meet the healthcare needs of the community we serve. They have powered our advancements in care and every day make a difference in the lives of our patients."
This article was originally published in Crain's Cleveland Business.