Cerner appoints Philips executive Brent Shafer as CEO

Philips executive Brent Shafer takes the reins as Cerner's CEO as the company secures its contract with the VA. (Hookmeupbarb/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Former Philips executive Brent Shafer will take the reins as Cerner’s new CEO beginning in February, according to a company announcement.

The appointment comes six months after the company’s co-founder and longtime CEO, Neal Patterson, died after complications from his bout with cancer. Cerner’s other co-founder, Cliff Illig, was serving as interim CEO.

RELATED: Cerner CEO Neal Patterson, a ‘legend’ and ‘inspirational visionary,’ dies from cancer at age 67

Shafer was appointed CEO of Philips North America in 2014 and oversaw the company’s health technology portfolio. For eight years prior, he served in various leadership roles at Philips including CEO of Philips Home Healthcare Solutions. Shafer began his career at Intermountain Healthcare.

He comes aboard at a time when the company is still trying to secure an estimated $10 billion contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs to replace its EHR system. Broadly, EHR vendors are facing renewed pressure enhance interoperability across health systems.

RELATED: VA's expectations for Cerner: A ‘digital veteran’s platform,’ change management and seamless interoperability

Shafter said he is committed to ensuring Cerner “will continue to be the catalyst for real and effective improvement across healthcare.”

“Brent is a proven chief executive who has helped lead the growth and strategies of a complex, multinational organization over a number of years,” Illig said in an announcement. “He is committed to innovation, with extensive knowledge of healthcare, technology and consumer markets and an exceptional skill set that complements Cerner’s strong leadership team.”

“Since our founding, Cerner has used the power of information technology to disrupt and improve health care,” he added. “The addition of Brent to our leadership team positions Cerner well for our next era of growth.”

According to an SEC filing, Shafer will make an annual base salary of $800,000, with an opportunity for a $1.2 million bonus.