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Wake Forest Baptist’s CEO Announces 2017 Role Transition

John D. McConnell, M.D., to Remain at the Medical Center in a New Position

On May 20, 2016, John D. McConnell, M.D. announced that he intends to step down in 2017 as CEO of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, but will remain at the Medical Center in a new position.

McConnell will stay in his role as CEO until the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Board of Directors appoints his successor. The Board will initiate the process of recruiting a successor in the next few weeks.

In his new role, McConnell will assume responsibility as executive director for a new Medical Center company, Wake Forest Healthcare Ventures, which will seek to develop and commercialize innovative products and services in areas such as health care analytics and digital health. He will also resume his faculty research and educational responsibilities.

“We are thrilled that John will continue as leader of a new Medical Center venture and continue to contribute in other ways as a distinguished faculty member and community leader,” said Board Chairman Steve Robertson. “John has done an incredible job combining two historically separate institutions – North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences – into a single, fully integrated academic medical center that is ideally positioned for the future growth of our research, education and patient care programs.” Robertson added, “The Board will establish a process to ensure that we take the time necessary to identify a leader of John’s quality.”

“Leading Wake Forest Baptist as its inaugural CEO has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” said McConnell. “We are finishing one of the best years in the history of the Medical Center and it seemed like an ideal time for me to transition to the next phase of my career. With the commitment and dedication of our faculty and staff, the Medical Center is making a real difference in the lives of patients.” McConnell continued, “Because of our educational and research programs, both of which export the intellectual capital of the Medical Center, the impact goes well beyond North Carolina.

“I am fully committed to vigorously pursuing all the goals and objectives outlined in our strategic plan until we smoothly transition to my successor. In addition, I look forward to continuing my personal commitment to the economic, educational and cultural health of our region for years to come.”

McConnell has been the CEO of Wake Forest Baptist since November 1, 2008. Since then, he has overseen the expansion of Wake Forest Baptist Health and Wake Forest School of Medicine with new programs and facilities, the advancement of Wake Forest Baptist’s Comprehensive Cancer Center to the highest ranked cancer center in the Southeast as determined by US News & World Report, and the development of regional partnerships that have made the Medical Center a leader in population health management.

“John led the Medical Center’s strategy to reorganize our technology development programs and the Piedmont Triad Research Park, into what is now Wake Forest Innovations and Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, a major driver of our local economy and the revitalization of downtown Winston-Salem,” said Wake Forest University President and Medical Center Board member Dr. Nathan Hatch.

McConnell’s research in the field of prostate disease, and related health policy contributions, led to his election to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) of the National Academies of Sciences in 2004. He has served on the board of directors of the American Urological Association and as a member of the Council of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. He has published more than 110 peer-reviewed papers and 11 books.

McConnell came to Wake Forest Baptist from the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, where he served as the Executive Vice President of Health System Affairs. Prior to that, he held other senior leadership positions at UT Southwestern, including professor and chair of the Department of Urology.

Hatch and Art Gibel, CEO of Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina and Medical Center Board member will co-chair a committee to conduct a national search for the new CEO, assisted by a leading executive search consulting firm.

About Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (www.wakehealth.edu) is a nationally recognized academic medical center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with an integrated enterprise including educational and research facilities, hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centers and other primary and specialty care facilities serving 24 counties in northwest North Carolina and southwest Virginia. Its divisions are Wake Forest Baptist Health, a regional clinical system that includes Brenner Children’s Hospital and has close to 175 locations, 900 physicians and 1,000 acute care beds; Wake Forest School of Medicine, an established leader in medical education and research; and Wake Forest Innovations, which accelerates the commercialization of research discoveries and specialized research capabilities of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and operates Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, an urban district for research, business and education. Wake Forest Baptist clinical, research and educational programs are annually ranked among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

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