John O’Brien to Retire as President and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care in January 2013 after a Decade of Service

WORCESTER, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- UMass Memorial Health Care announced today that John G. O’Brien, president and chief executive officer, intends to retire in January 2013.

Mr. O’Brien said, “I am proud of all that we have accomplished over the last decade, and I have tremendous confidence in the entire UMass Memorial organization as we move forward to the next stage in this new era for health care providers, patients and payers. We have built a solid operational and financial foundation upon which my successor will certainly build as he or she continues the vital mission of UMass Memorial and the transformational change it already has begun.

“As I approached my tenth year of service, I decided to announce my retirement from UMass Memorial Health Care now so that the Board will have the freedom to conduct a comprehensive search for the best successor. My plan was to serve for ten years – a timeline I will have exceeded by year end. While my tenure at UMass Memorial and my role running hospitals and health systems will come to an end, my involvement in this community and in the health care field will not. I will continue to reside locally, remain an enthusiastic supporter of the UMass Memorial system, and contribute in some different way to this important field in the future.”

David Bennett, chair of UMass Memorial Health Care’s Board of Trustees, said, “The Board thanks John O’Brien for his ten years of exceptional and outstanding service as President and CEO. He has ably led UMass Memorial through a period of tremendous and fundamental change, and his skills, experience and wisdom will be missed. We accepted his decision with regret, but are pleased that he will stay on in his current role until January 2013, at which time it is expected that his successor will be fully in place and the transition plan completed.

“Finding a replacement for John will not be easy, of course,” Mr. Bennett continued. “During his tenure, the organization has tackled and accomplished a number of important initiatives designed to transform our organization to become more affordable to the patients and families we serve, while delivering even better quality and safe care.”

The organization’s accomplishments under Mr. O’Brien’s leadership include:

  • Advancement of the quality and safety of care by adopting new technologies including becoming the first in Massachusetts to launch eICUs reducing mortality of the most critical patients, developing a Telestroke Program allowing patients in community hospitals to have direct access to leading stroke practitioners, and introducing electronic health records across the system.
  • Completion of major construction projects at all our hospitals to provide patients with better access to our care, including the Lakeside Wing (Emergency Department, ICUs, operating rooms) and Ambulatory Care Center at our Medical Center; Cancer Center at our HealthAlliance Hospital; and a Wing Memorial Hospital addition with an ICU, medical/surgical unit, OR and main reception area.
  • Further increasing care by expanding services beyond the walls of our hospitals with new ambulatory facilities in Milford and Southborough, and new physician practice sites in a myriad of communities including Harvard, Grafton and Sterling.
  • Increasing the medical staff by 25 percent and in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Medical School, developing systemwide Centers of Excellence in heart and vascular, musculoskeletal, diabetes and cancer care.
  • Leading community efforts to promote wellness, including chairing the Worcester City Manager’s Advisory Committee on Youth, co-chairing Pioneering Healthier Communities which is focused on policy changes that help the Worcester community lead healthier, more active lifestyles, and co-leading with St. Vincent’s Hospital the community taskforce that constructed the strategic plan for the City’s Department of Public Health, driving focused efforts to reduce hunger and, as recognized by earning the American Hospital Association’s Nova Award, directing the city’s Healthy Youth Development Initiative.

In addition, during his tenure Mr. O’Brien received numerous honors including the American Hospital Association Board of Trustees Award (2010), the William L. Lane Hospital Advocate Award of the Massachusetts Hospital Association (2008) and Worcester Business Journal’s Business Leader of the Year (2005).

Michael F. Collins, MD, Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the academic partner of UMass Memorial, said, “John has been a dynamic and creative leader at a time when all health care organizations are being asked to do more with less. I particularly commend him for his commitment to innovation and using the expertise we gain through our integrated teaching, research, and clinical missions to better serve the patients we have the great privilege to care for across Central New England.”

Mr. Bennett said that the Board has formed a Succession Committee that will oversee a careful, comprehensive and thorough search for John’s successor. A leading national executive search firm, Korn/Ferry International, has been retained to undertake a search for a leader with the skills, experience and wisdom to lead UMass Memorial into its next stage of development.

About UMass Memorial Health Care

UMass Memorial Health Care is Central Massachusetts' largest not-for-profit health care delivery system, covering the complete health care continuum with UMass Memorial Medical Center, its academic medical center, member and affiliated community hospitals, freestanding primary care practices, ambulatory outpatient clinics, a rehabilitation group and mental health services. UMass Memorial is the clinical partner of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. To learn more about UMass Memorial, please visit, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


UMass Memorial Health Care
Rob Brogna
[email protected]

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