June 20, 2017

Benjamin Chu, Memorial Hermann CEO, steps down

Daily Briefing

Memorial Hermann Health System on Monday announced that Benjamin Chu was immediately stepping down as president and CEO of the health care system, one year after he assumed the role.

How to ensure seamless leadership transitions

According to Becker's Hospital Review, Charles Stokes, who serves as EVP and COO at Memorial Hermann, will serve as interim president and CEO in addition to his current positions.

Chu pursing work in health, public policy

Chu began serving as CEO in June 2016, succeeding former CEO Dan Wolterman in the role and marking the first time the health system was led by a physician.

Previously, he worked as EVP for Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan and group president of the regional offices for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California and Georgia. He has also worked as president of NYC Health + Hospitals. Chu currently chairs the board for the Commonwealth Fund and serves as a member of CDC's director advisory committee. 

In his announcement, Chu said, "After much discussion with the system board, I have made the difficult decision to leave the organization to pursue my passion in health and public policy." He added, "As a physician and longtime public policy advocate, I look forward to continuing my mission to enhance access to high-quality care and improve the overall health of our population."

Chu also expressed his longtime admiration for the health system, saying, "I have admired Memorial Hermann from afar for many years, and I was incredibly honored to join this prestigious organization." He continued, "It has been a privilege to have led one of the nation's largest and most successful health systems—one that advocates for improved access to safe, high-quality care."

Chu did not specify his next steps. However, according to a Memorial Herman press release, Chu is leaving his position to "pursue his passion in health and public policy."

Separately, Deborah Cannon, chair of the Memorial Hermann board, said Chu "plans to continue his mission to enhance access to high-quality care and improve the overall health of our population." She added, "With the current state of the health care industry, I can think of no better time for a champion like Chu to help lead public policy efforts" (Kacik/Barkholz, Modern Healthcare, 6/19; Ackerman, Houston Chronicle, 6/19; Vaidya, Becker's Hospital Review, 6/19).

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