Leadership team announced for merged Advocate-Aurora system

With Milwaukee’s Aurora Health Care and Chicago’s Advocate Healthcare expecting to clear the final regulatory hurdle for their proposed merger, the two have lined up the leadership team that will report to the co-CEOs of the new system.

The co-CEO arrangement with Advocate’s Jim Skogsbergh and Aurora’s Nick Turkal, MD, had already been announced. The 15-person leadership team working under them will be divided between nine executives from Advocate and six from Aurora:

  • Rick Klein, chief business development officer
  • Cristy Garcia-Thomas, chief external affairs officer
  • Dominic Nakis, MBA, chief financial officer
  • Kevin Brady, PhD, chief human resources officer
  • Bobby Bryne, MD, chief information officer
  • Mike Lappin, chief integration officer
  • Michael Grebe, chief legal officer
  • Kelly Jo Golson, MBA, chief marketing officer
  • Lee Sacks, MD, chief medical officer
  • Mary Beth Kingston, chief nursing officer
  • Bill Santulli, MHA, chief operating officer
  • Rev. Kathie Bender Schwich, MBA, chief spiritual officer
  • Scott Powder, MBA, chief strategy officer
  • Vince Bufalino, MD, chief of Advocate Medical Group
  • Jeff Bahr, MD, chief of Aurora Medical Group

“This strong and visionary leadership team positions us to enhance our work on safety, outcomes, cost and consumer experience to deliver on our promise of reimagining the possibilities of health for those we serve,” Skogsbergh said in a statement.

The combined Aurora-Advocate system will be the 10th largest in the U.S., operating 27 hospitals, more than 500 sites of care and employing nearly 70,000 people with an annual revenue of $11 billion. Beyond its leadership team, the systems have said the 14-member board of directors would be split evenly between the existing entities, including its two co-CEOs

The merger approval process has gone more smoothly than Advocate’s last attempt at a combination—the abandoned merger with NorthShore University Health Care—which faced opposition based on the geographic overlap in Illinois. Having no geographic overlap, the merger has already been approved by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board and the Federal Trade Commission.

The last step will be approval from the Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner, which the system expects to come in the next few weeks.