Movers & Shakers: Sutter Health, MyMichigan Health appoint new CEOs

Sutter Health names Warner Thomas as CEO

California-based Sutter Health has appointed Warner L. Thomas as its next CEO and president.

Sutter Health is a not-for-profit health system serving more than 3 million patients in Northern California. Thomas will assume the new role Dec. 1, 2022. Thomas comes to Sutter Health from Ochsner Health, where he has served as president and CEO for the past 10 years. Ochsner Health has 40 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and specialty hospitals, as well as more than 300 health centers and urgent care centers. It is one of the largest private employers in Louisiana, with more than 36,000 employees, more than 4,600 employed and affiliated physicians across 90 specialties.

Thomas succeeds Conforti, Sutter Health’s chief operating officer who has served as interim CEO since January 2022. In his work with Ochsner, Thomas initiated multiple programs aimed at improving access to quality, equitable healthcare for underserved communities, including a major 10-year Healthy State initiative, with $100 million committed in the first five years.

“In service to Sutter Health’s legacy of caring for patients and deep roots in the community, the Sutter Health Board of Directors chose Warner through a comprehensive, rigorous and transparent search process that included strong involvement and perspective from physicians and senior leaders across the organization,” Cheryl Scott, a member of the Sutter Health Board of Directors and chair of the Board’s CEO Search Committee, said in a statement. “We’re pleased to have found such a highly-qualified candidate with Warner’s exceptional track record to lead Sutter Health. The Board would also like to thank our interim CEO James Conforti for his significant role this year as a steady hand and steward of the organization.”

MyMichigan Health taps Lydia Watson for CEO

Lydia Watson, MD, CPE, has been  named president and CEO of MyMichigan Health, a non-profit health system based in Midland, Michigan. 

Watson currently serves as senior vice president and chief medical officer of MyMichigan, and she will assume the role of CEO Dec. 1, 2022. She succeeds Greg Rogers, who is a long-time health administrator of the organization.

Watson has served in many leadership roles throughout her career, including chief quality and patient officer for MyMichigan, as well as chief of staff, vice president of medical affairs and board member of MyMichigan Medical Center Midland. She also currently serves as chair of the MHA Physicians in Healthcare Leadership Council in 2021-2022.

Prior to her work at MyMichigan, Watson was a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist at the Medical Center in Midland, as well as an active staff member at Saginaw General Hospital from 1988 to 1996.

Her appointment comes after MyMichigan Health President and CEO Diane Postler-Slattery, Ph D, and her husband, Don, died in a plane crash in northwest Florida earlier this year.

“While MyMichigan Health has experienced much change over the past six months following the unexpected passing of Diane Postler-Slattery and her husband, Don, what hasn’t changed is the commitment and care provided to patients,” Jenee Velasquez, board chair, MyMichigan Health, said in a statement. “The leadership and direction provided by Greg, Dr. Watson and the entire leadership team has been nothing short of exceptional. Dr. Watson’s commitment to the health of our communities combined with her long-time leadership and respect for all those with whom she works will continue to strengthen this beloved health care system for generations to come.”

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