Cleveland Clinic names new CEO to take over for Toby Cosgrove

Tomislay “Tom” Mihaljevic, M.D., will become the next CEO and president of the Cleveland Clinic.

The CEO of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi will become the new head of the Cleveland Clinic in January.

The world-renowned organization announced Friday that it has selected Tomislay “Tom” Mihaljevic, M.D., as its next CEO and president to succeed Toby Cosgrove, M.D.

RELATED: Cleveland Clinic’s Toby Cosgrove to step down, search begins for new president and CEO

Mihaljevic, 53, joined Cleveland Clinic in 2004 as a cardiothoracic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive and robotically assisted cardiac surgeries. Since 2015, he has served as CEO of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, overseeing the hospital’s strategy and operations as the first U.S. multispecialty hospital to be replicated outside of North America, including directly managing the hospital’s patient experience and strategy & business development programs.

“Dr. Mihaljevic brings a depth of experience, first as an innovative, world-class surgeon and more recently as a hospital executive focused on healthcare quality and safety, patient experience and business strategy,” Robert E. Rich Jr., chair of Cleveland Clinic’s board of directors, said in the announcement.

Under Cosgrove’s leadership, the Cleveland Clinic has made unprecedented strides in quality, accessibility, finances, innovation and reputation, Rich noted.  Although it will be a challenge for anyone to follow in Cosgrove’s footsteps, Rich said Mihaljevic has the “background, skills and vision to move Cleveland Clinic forward to even greater heights.”

Mihaljevic was the Board of Governors and Board of Directors unanimous choice to succeed Cosgrove based on the unanimous recommendation of a nomination committee that conducted an extensive review of potential successors.

Cosgrove will transition Mihaljevic through the end of the year. Cosgrove intends to move to an advisory role on Jan. 1, 2018 when Mihaljevic assumes the full duties of president and CEO.

Cosgrove was a cardiac surgeon for nearly 30 years before becoming CEO of Cleveland Clinic in 2004. Since then, he has led initiatives that have gained international and national recognition. He coined the phrase “Patients First” at the institution and was the first to hire a chief patient experience officer, a position that is now a fixture in many hospitals across the country. He also has implemented same-day medical appointments for patients who request them.

During his 13-year tenure, the Cleveland Clinic saw its revenues grow from $3.7 billion to $8.5 billion in 2016 with expansions in Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Canada, Abu Dhabi and has plans to open a facility in London in 2020.

“While I may be stepping aside as president and CEO, I will not be leaving Cleveland Clinic behind,” Cosgrove said in the announcement. “No place else functions quite like Cleveland Clinic, with its physician-driven, patient-centered ethos that encourages clinical excellence, medical education, research and innovation. I look forward to working with Dr. Mihaljevic in any way that I can to further the Cleveland Clinic mission.”

A native of Croatia and a naturalized American citizen, Mihaljevic earned his medical degree from the University of Zagreb, before moving to the United States in 1995 to join Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He moved to Cleveland Clinic in 2004 as a cardiothoracic surgeon and helped to build Cleveland Clinic into the world’s largest robotic practice. He has served as the CEO of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi since September 2015.

“Though healthcare is in the midst of a major transformation, Cleveland Clinic is very well positioned for the future,” Mihaljevic said in the announcement. “Our ongoing success will hinge on our ability to maintain high-quality outcomes, while reducing healthcare costs, encouraging innovation, and improving access and affordability for patients.”