Stanford Children’s Health CEO to retire

Christopher Dawes, MBA, announced he’ll be retiring as president and CEO of both Stanford Children’s Health and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto, California, saying health concerns led to him leaving the post immediately. 

He had been planning on making the announcement later in March and staying on until his replacement was selected, he wrote in a letter posted on LinkedIn, but said it was necessary to take medical leave, ending his 21-year tenure as hospital CEO.

“I believe it is now time to pass the baton to the next generation of executives,” Dawes wrote. “I am particularly proud of the excellent clinical services we have created, several of which are nationally ranked, the investments we have made in the Children’s Health Research Institute (CHRI), the network we have created to provide more access to the care we provide and, of course, our new ‘main’ building.”

He was referring to the new 521,000-square-foot hospital building which opened in December 2017, which Dawes called “the nation's most technologically advanced, environmentally sustainable and family-friendly hospital for children and expectant mothers.”

Dawes has been with Stanford for a total of 29 years, rising to become chief operating officer of Packard in 1995 before becoming CEO and president in 1997. Packard was often rated as one of the top children’s hospital in the nation during his tenure, making the U.S. News and World Report top 10 list in 2016-17. In the 2017-18 rankings, it was ranked among the top children’s hospitals for nephrology.

Taking over for Dawes as interim CEO will be Dennis Lund, MD, the hospital’s chief medical officer.

“On behalf of Stanford Children’s Health, we are very supportive of Chris’ decision to focus his full energy on his health,” Lund said in a statement. “As an organization, we will stay the course that Chris has set into motion. We want to thank Chris for his nearly 30 years of service.”