Lloyd Dean said he will retire next year after leading CommonSpirit Health since 2019 following the momentous merger between Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives that created one of the largest health systems in the country.
Dean's upcoming exit now sets off a search to find his successor, the health system said in a statement on Tuesday. CommonSpirit said it has retained outside firm Russell Reynolds Associates to assist the board in its search. The goal is for the company to complete its work before Dean's retirement next summer.
"During his 22 years of service, Lloyd has been one of our country's leading voices for expanding access to quality health care. He was a driving force behind establishing and growing CommonSpirit into one of the country's largest, most diverse and leading health systems," Tessie Guillermo, chairwoman of CommonSpirit's board, said in a statement.
The news of Dean's departure comes on the heels of a tumultuous time for the healthcare industry and as many providers continue to feel the ripple of effects from the COVID-19 pandemic on operations. The coronavirus hit CommonSpirit for a $524 million loss in its fiscal year ended June 2020, as investments dampened, charity care costs increased and admissions fell. However, the system was able to rebound the following year end, posting net income of $5.5 billion.
"It's hard to believe that more than half of our time as CommonSpirit has been spent in the midst of a global pandemic, yet we have already accomplished so much together," Dean said in a LinkedIn post announcing his next chapter, with what he described as mixed emotions.
Dean has had a formidable career in healthcare.
Prior to the formation of CommonSpirit Health, Dean served as CEO of Dignity Health for 19 years, and was also chief operating officer at what was then Advocate Health Care before it became Advocate Aurora Health.
After the merger that created CommonSpirit, Dean served alongside Kevin Lofton in dual CEO roles. Dean became the sole CEO when Lofton retired in June 2020. For the fiscal year ending June 2020, CommonSpirit reported $16.7 million in total compensation for Dean, according to an IRS form.
He has championed efforts to achieve health equity, especially as the pandemic laid bare the stark health inequities as the coronavirus disproportionately affected people of color.
More recently, to help tackle this issue head on, Dean committed to investing $100 million in Morehouse School of Medicine, a historically black college in Atlanta, to create training opportunities, particularly in communities of color.
"We are laying the foundation for patients to have more access to Black clinicians and for Black medical students and graduates to gain community-based experience that they need to be successful in their work," Dean said in a statement at the time. Dean is one of the few Black CEOs to lead a major health system in the U.S.
Among Dean's biggest accomplishments was lending his voice to help pass the Affordable Care Act, Tuesday's statement said.