Two health system CEOs will share top spot after merger

A shared office of the chief executive officer is the key to a smooth merger between two of New Jersey's leading hospital systems, NJ Biz has reported.

Robert C. Garrett, CEO of the Hackensack University Health Network, and John K. Lloyd, CEO of Meridian Health, have agreed to share the top leadership duties for two-and-a-half years after the systems merge. Hackensack and Meridian announced earlier this month they would combine to form Hackensack Meridian Health, which would make it the state's largest hospital system.

The system would include 10 hospitals. Six are owned by Meridian, including Jersey Shore University Medical Center and Ocean Medical Center. The other four are owned by Hackensack and include Hackensack University Medical Center. The merger would allow Meridian's patients easier access to Hackensack's specialty care, while Meridian's business model is more focused on caring for patients outside of the traditional hospital setting, according to the Asbury Park Press.

Garrett and Lloyd have worked together in a less formal venue with the creation last year of Allspire Health Partners, a consortium of 30 hospitals in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York that banded together to try and attract more patients and research grants.

The two executives suggested the merger might not have gone forward without them sharing responsibilities.

"It is fair to say that each organization felt that their own CEO should lead this organization," Lloyd told NJ Biz. "And the way we resolved this was rather than having the potential breakup of the merger, Bob and I came together and agreed to share the co-president position."

Lloyd and Garrett will hold the office of the CEO and president for 30 months after the merger is completed, and would focus their co-tenure on integrating the two systems. Then Garrett, who is 11 years younger than 68-year-old Lloyd, would become the sole CEO.

To learn more:
- read the NJ Biz article
- check out the Asbury Park Press article