Sanford Health shakes up C-suite

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Dive Brief:

  • Sanford Health is shaking up its executive team by creating two new roles — a chief technology officer and a chief external affairs officer — and seeking permanent replacements for C-suite staples including its chief financial officer and health plan president, according to a Sept. 6 email sent to employees.
  • Sanford will phase out its chief strategy and development officer title, currently held by Nathan Peterson, who has been with the company since 2010. Peterson will become Sanford’s chief of staff. 
  • President and CEO Bill Gassen told staff the “new voices and perspectives” in management will help the Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based nonprofit health system remain agile in the years ahead.

Dive Insight:

Sanford is recruiting externally for a permanent CFO to replace Bill Marlette, who has been serving in an interim capacity since June. The company will “shortly” begin to search for health plan president John Snyder’s replacement. Snyder is set to retire at the end of 2024.

The nonprofit is also looking externally to fill its new chief technology officer position. The CTO will help the executive team leverage technology, digital and data analytics to enhance the patient experience and advance business initiatives. 

Erika Batcheller, who has served as vice president of media relations and corporate communications at Sanford for just shy of a year and a half, will step into the role of chief external affairs officer, with oversight of marketing and communications, community relations and the Sanford Health Foundation.

In a statement shared with Healthcare Dive, Gassen said he is looking forward to having new expertise on senior management. 

“I am incredibly proud of the way the people of Sanford Health have successfully navigated economic headwinds while remaining steadfast in our commitment to being a trusted provider of exceptional care,” Gassen said.

The last leadership shakeup at Sanford occured in 2020, when the former CEO was ousted after he disseminated COVID-19 misinformation about masking. Gassen has led the company since, through both the COVID pandemic and economic conditions like inflation that battered the nonprofit hospital industry.

Despite a failed merger with Fairview earlier this summer, Sanford inked out strong first half financials this August, with an operating gain of $71.8 million.

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