Ohio State Wexner CEO resigns after ‘no confidence’ letter from physicians

Sheldon Retchin, MD, has stepped down as CEO of Ohio State Wexner Medical Center after physicians and faculty complained about his management style in letters to university leaders, alleging he disrespected the hospital’s mission and set “unrealistic” goals on clinical and research initiatives.

Retchin called those accusations baseless in a statement announcing his depature.

“In response to recent events, more specifically to letters regarding my leadership here—that have been made public—I must clear my name and address these preposterous allegations by simply and unequivocally stating that they are untrue,” Retchin said.

The university’s statement also said the claims made by physicians and professors were untrue, but because the letters “may have damaged important relationships necessary for continued future success,” Retchin decided to resign. He’ll be taking a leave of absence and then return in a teaching role.

According to OSU student newspaper The Lantern, at least three letters complaining about Retchin were sent to university leadership earlier this month. The first, signed by 25 doctors and professors on May 1, said Retchin and the dean of the OSU College of Medicine, Craig Kent, MD, have led physicians to resign or retire early and vacant positions to be left unfilled thanks to their management tactics.

Two more letters followed on May 3. In one, five department chairs and the director of OSU Wexner’s neurological institute blamed Retchin for “low morale, distrust and a sense of alienation.” Similar complaints came in another letter from the chairs of six clinical departments, who claimed attempts to address the issues with hospital leaders “have been met with resistance.”

Retchin was hired by the school in December 2014 at a salary of more than $971,000. Prior to running OSU Wexner, he spent 11 years at Virginia Commonwealth University as senior vice president for health sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University and the CEO of its health system.