Chutes & Ladders—Renown Health axes CEO, president; Johns Hopkins' Paul Rothman to retire

Welcome to this week's Chutes & Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry. Please submit the good news—or the bad—from your shop, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Renown Health

Rony Slonim, M.D.
(Renown Health)

Tony Slonim, M.D., has been terminated with cause from his role as president and CEO of Renown Health following a "thorough investigation of concerns raised to the board of directors," the system's board announced in a Thursday release.

The statement did not disclose specifics on why the board chose to move on from Slonim, who had held the top roles since 2014. 

It did, however, name Thomas R. Graf, M.D., the system's current chief clinical and quality officer as well as the senior associate dean for clinical affairs at University of Nevada, Reno School as Medicine, as its new interim CEO.

A family medicine physician, Graf has a history of leadership roles among healthcare providers, insurance organizations and a national consulting firm. 

Joining him will be Chief Operations Officer Sy Johnson, who will pick up the mantle of interim president during the transition.

Formerly the CEO, senior vice president and chief financial officer for Peace Health, he's been with Renown for nearly seven years in operational leadership roles. 

The board said in its announcement that the pair will be focused on ensuring a smooth transition and continuing Renown's long-term goals. It did not outline any plans to establish new permanent leadership. 

Johns Hopkins

Paul Rothman, M.D.
(Johns Hopkins)

Paul Rothman, M.D., CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine as well as the dean of the medical faculty for the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, announced Thursday plans to retire from his roles effective July 1.

Described in the announcement as “a consummate clinician-scientist,” Rothman is a rheumatologist and molecular immunologist who earned his medical degree at Yale University School of Medicine.

He completed residency and fellowships at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and focused his research on the role of cytokines in leukocyte development and in immune responses.

Rothman’s earlier career included faculty and leadership roles at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

He stepped into Johns Hopkins’ top slots in 2011, where his accomplishments included the openings of several new hospital buildings and research facilities, investments into digital infrastructure for big data and precision medicine, opening offices of well-being and diversity and inclusion, leading the organization through much of the COVID-19 pandemic and an upcoming initiative to minimize medical students’ debts, according to the announcement.

Rothman’s vacancies will be filled on a temporary basis by Theodore DeWeese, M.D., president of the Johns Hopkins Clinical Practice Association and vice dean for clinical affairs. The retirement announcement made no mention of a search for Rothman’s permanent successor.


Joseph B. Sobel, M.D.

Joseph B. “J.B.” Sobel, M.D., was named as the chief medical officer for Cigna’s Medicare business earlier this week.

Sobel arrives to the role with nearly 20 years of experience acting as a medical lead at payer organizations.

In 2004 he joined BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina as an associate medical director of its BlueChoice HealthPlan and eventually moved up into the chief medical officer role.

In 2021 he spent two-and-a-half years as senior medical director at Aetna’s Coventry Health Care of Georgia, then moved to BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee in 2014 where he served as vice president and chief medical officer of senior products.

Sobel, who has already been at Cigna for about a month, is now set to overseeing the medical policy, behavioral health solutions and innovation strategies being unrolled within Cigna’s Medicare business. He comes to the position after a busy year for the business line, with Cigna touting entries into 108 new counties and three new states during 2021.

Sanford Health

Jared Antczak
(Sanford Health)

Jared Antczak has gotten the nod as chief digital officer of Sanford Health, the 46-hospital system announced this week.

The Salt Lake City native is joining up straight from a one-year stint as vice president and head of digital product at Pittsburgh-based Highmark Health. Prior to that were various leadership positions focused on technology systems and consumer digital experience at Intermountain Healthcare and Atrium Health (then Carolinas HealthCare System).

Upon joining the Sioux Falls, South Dakota nonprofit, Antczak will be put in charge of digital transformation initiatives supporting rural patient communities and the system’s caregivers.

Alongside projects to increase adoption and optimization of digital tools for engagement, care delivery and business process improvement, the system noted that Antczak will play a key role in a recently launched virtual care initiative, which includes the construction of a 60,000 square-foot building later this year.

> MyMichigan Health Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Greg Rogers is stepping into the role of acting CEO following the unexpected death of Diane Postler-Slattery.

> Collective Health, a digital benefits management platform for employers, brought on Ari Hoffman, M.D., as chief clinical officer and vice president of population health, and Jennifer Danielson as chief growth officer.

> CVS Health’s Independent Board Chair David W. Dorman will be retiring May 11, with Roger Farah selected to replace him. Director Tony L. White will also be retiring at the same time, with the size of the board being reduced to 11 directors.

> Russell County Hospital, in Kentucky, announced the mutual termination of CEO Patrick Branco, who said he is retiring.

> University Hospitals Parma Medical Center chose Christopher Dussel, M.D., as its new chief medical officer.

> Health Network One welcomed Edward Cabrera, M.D., as medical director.

> Catholic Health named Joseph Lamantia executive vice president and chief transformation officer.

> CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield unveiled A. Tonya Odom as its new director of diversity, equity and inclusion.

> The Guthrie Clinic announced Patricia Vassell as vice president, nursing services/chief nursing officer at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital, Lisa Esolen, M.D., as executive vice president and chief quality officer, Cathleen Veach, M.D., as chief medical information officer and Kansas Underwood as vice president, nursing/chief nursing officer for Guthrie Cortland Medical Center.

> Flagler Health+, in Florida, announced the resignation of CEO and President Jason Barrett. Carlton DeVoogth, the organization’s senior executive vice president, chief administrative officer and general counsel, will fill those roles in the interim.

> Saltzer Health, part of Intermountain Healthcare, tapped Terri Hays as chief financial officer.

> IntelyCare, a nurse staffing platform, recently introduced Chris Sands as chief financial officer, Sheri Zee as chief people officer and Michael Berdik as chief legal officer.

> HCA Healthcare West Florida Division announced HCA Florida Brandon Hospital CEO Bland Eng to the newly created role of chief development officer—Fort Myers.

> Regence BlueShield will see three new vice presidents starting April 1: Stacy Crim, who will be in charge of small business for sales and account management; Jae Suzuki, who will be in charge of large group for sales and account management; and Peter McClung, a prior vice president of sales who will take on primary responsibilities for self-funded groups and national account strategy.

> University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and UC Health named Umberto Tachinardi, M.D., as chief health digital officer.

> Tia, a women’s health and virtual services startup, hired on Kristen Collins as chief of staff.

> eHealth Technologies, a healthcare and medical record data company, named Dan Torrens as CEO, Jeff Freier as vice president of operations and Sean Ways as vice president of engineering.

> Brookwood Baptist Health, in Alabama, selected Charles Tyson as group chief financial officer.

> Spring Harbor Hospital, part of MaineHealth, will see President Mary Jane Krebs retire at the end of the year.

> TimeDoc Health appointed P.J. Helmuth, M.D., as medical director.