HFHS CEO Announces Retirement Date, New President Appointment

September 29, 2014

DETROIT – As part of a two-year succession plan, Nancy Schlichting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System, announced today that she will retire in December 2016 and the appointment of a new president for the health system.

Wright L. Lassiter, III, currently CEO at Alameda Health System in Oakland, California, will begin his new role as president of Henry Ford Health System on Dec. 15.

“It is very important to me to have a smooth transition in leadership and that I continue to serve in my role for a period of time alongside the individual we identify as the next CEO to ensure that Henry Ford Health System is best positioned for future success,” says Schlichting.

“The Board of Trustees and I are confident this plan will take Henry Ford into the next 100 years with the expertise and personal qualities to build on our history of clinical care, research and educational excellence, and our national reputation as a premier health system.”

“During the next two years, I will be working closely with Wright and Bob Riney, who will continue his excellent work as Chief Operating Officer,” says Schlichting. “Bob’s deep experience in our System and knowledge of the Detroit community will compliment Wright’s CEO track record as a national leader in public health systems.”

“I am honored to lead one of the nation’s premier health care systems,” says Lassiter. “I am equally thrilled to be part of the renewal of Detroit - a city that the California media are now calling the ‘new San Francisco’ – and the role Henry Ford is playing in the city’s rebirth.”

Lassiter is a seasoned CEO with 20 years of experience in large, complex health systems, including Methodist Health System in Dallas and JPS Health Network in Fort Worth, Texas.

In his most recent position as CEO at Alameda Health System (AHS) in Oakland, Calif., he led the expansion and turnaround of an $865 million public health system, achieving eight years of positive financial performance with operating margins as high as 19%. Under his leadership, Alameda achieved The Joint Commission Top Performer status, increased patient engagement from the 1st percentile to the 80th and was awarded the Press Ganey Spirit of Excellence Award for two consecutive years for employee engagement.

Lassiter also lead efforts to improve quality and patient safety; he is credited with an 18-month effort that reduced patient harm across AHS by 50%. His vision for developing an integrated delivery network successfully led to two organizations joining the growing AHS network during 2013-14.

Lassiter led the master plan for a new $682-million replacement hospital and campus, successfully garnering the needed funding. Skilled at working with the public sector on understanding the needs of urban health systems, he played a significant role with California’s public hospitals in negotiating an agreement with the state that resulted in $3 billion in supplemental revenue over a 5-year period.

“He is a believer that you build a strong health system through trusted partnerships with employees, physicians, patients and the community,” says Sandy Pierce, chair of the Henry Ford Board. “Highly regarded for his financial and operational acumen, Wright is an avid believer that the most important consideration is the patient and anticipating his or her needs.” He recently received the Legacy Award from the Jobs & Housing Coalition for his contributions toward improving healthcare in Oakland. In 2012, Lassiter was named one of the Top 25 Minority Healthcare Executives in U.S. Healthcare by Modern Healthcare. In 2011, Health Leaders magazine named Wright one of “20 People Who Make Healthcare Better” in the U.S., and Fast Company published an article about his achievements.

An avid community leader, Lassiter has held volunteer positions at the United Way, Salvation Army and YMCA. He also serves on the BETA Healthcare Group Board, the KLAS Advisory Board, California Health and Wellness and he is chair-elect of the Metropolitan Hospital Governing Council of the American Hospital Association. Additionally, he serves on the executive Committee of the Boards of the California Hospital Association and America's Essential Hospitals.

He was awarded his master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Indiana University and completed his bachelor’s degree with honors in Chemistry from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, where he now serves on the Board.

About Henry Ford Health System

Henry Ford Health System, one of the largest and most comprehensive integrated U.S. health care systems, is a national leader in clinical care, research and education. The system includes the 1,100-member Henry Ford Medical Group, six hospitals, Health Alliance Plan (a health insurance and wellness company), Henry Ford Physician Network, a 150-site ambulatory network and many other health-related entities throughout southeast Michigan, providing a full continuum of care. In 2013, Henry Ford provided $314 million in uncompensated care. The health system also is a major economic driver in Michigan and employs more than 23,000 employees. Henry Ford is a 2011 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient. The health system is led by CEO Nancy Schlichting. To learn more, visit HenryFord.com