- Tenet CEO Ron Rittenmeyer is leaving the role next month after nearly four years heading up the hospital operator, the company announced late Monday.
- COO Suam Sutaria will become the new CEO on Sept. 1. Sutaria has been COO since joining Tenet in January 2019. Before that, he worked at McKinsey & Co. for 18 years.
- Rittenmeyer, in his early 70s, has been a member of the board since 2010 and will serve as executive chairman of the board until the end of next year, according to a press release.
The speedy transition comes soon after Rittenmeyer told investors during the second-quarter earnings call that the first half of the year had been "better than expected on many fronts" despite ongoing COVID-19 concerns but noted he was far from claiming victory.
The surging delta variant is particularly ravaging Texas and Florida, where together Tenet has more than a dozen acute care hospitals.
Like other major for-profit systems, Tenet so far has been able to maintain profits throughout the pandemic, thanks in large part to federal coronavirus relief funds.
Both Ritternmeyer's and Sutaria's compensation packages have been targeted. Last year, Rittenmeyer made $16.7 million and Sutaria made $8.9 million, both dips from the prior year. In April 2020, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters sent a letter to shareholders asking them to reject the pay packages and arguing the salaries "lack real ties to performance."
And Tenet has been dogged by labor issues. About 800 nurses at a hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, have been on strike for more than five months, protesting that staffing levels are inadequate and requesting the hospital establish a nurse-to-patient ratio in their next union contract.
In recent years, Tenet has pivoted hard to running ambulatory surgical centers in lieu of its traditional role as hospital operator. In December 2020, it bought 25 ASCs from SurgCenter Development, bringing the total number under its wing to 310 across 33 states.