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Leader of ProMedica to Leave Post Next Year

January 24, 2008

By Julie M. Mckinnon, The Blade, Toledo, Ohio

Jan. 24–Alan Brass plans to retire next year from ProMedica Health System, the Toledo hospital provider that expanded under his tutelage through investments — including the 2001 opening of Bay Park Community Hospital in Oregon — and the addition of hospitals throughout the region.

Under Mr. Brass’ leadership for 10 years, ProMedica is financially secure and committed to the community, as evidenced by projects such as the ongoing rebuilding of Toledo Hospital and Toledo Children’s Hospital, said Larry C. Peterson, chairman elect of the ProMedica board of trustees.

By the time that project is complete, ProMedica will have invested close to $400 million, said Mr. Peterson, who will help lead the search for Mr. Brass’ re-placement. The project’s second phase, a $156 million patient tower, is opening this month.

“He has certainly brought excellent leadership and put in place an outstanding management group,” said Mr. Peterson, who will become board chairman next year.

Yet, he added: “Certainly it’s a loss as far as we’re all concerned. He’s a friend.”

Mr. Brass plans to retire as chief executive on June 30, 2009, ProMedica announced yesterday. He was not available for comment.

The 59-year-old Youngstown native will become ProMedica’s chairman emeritus for six months after his retirement, helping the board and his successor as needed, Mr. Peterson said.

Mr. Peterson and Frank E. Duval, the current board chairman, will lead a search committee for Mr. Brass’ successor. A nationwide search will be conducted for ProMedica’s next top executive, and there are certain to be excellent candidates within existing management, Mr. Peterson said.

Mr. Brass was both president and chief executive of ProMedica until mid-2006, when Randy Oostra was named president and chief operating officer.

Long the highest-paid hospital executive in the Toledo area, Mr. Brass had nearly $1.9 million in total compensation in 2006, the most recent year for which financial information is available. His compensation package was more than $4.1 million the year before, including nearly $2.6 million deferred over several years.

When Mr. Brass was hired, ProMedica owned Toledo Hospital and Flower Hospital in Sylvania, as well as Paramount Health Care insurance company. It soon added hospitals in Defiance; Lima, Ohio; Adrian; Tecumseh, Mich., and Fostoria to its nonprofit organization.

ProMedica now has 15,000 employees and 2,900 physicians. It treats more than 2.5 million patients a year.

Through his tenure, Mr. Brass and ProMedica have not been immune to criticism.

Bay Park’s 2001 opening was seen as a direct competitive jab at chief rival Mercy Health System, owner of nearby St. Charles Mercy Hospital. So was starting an emergency helicopter service.

ProMedica also severed most medical education ties with the former Medical College of Ohio in 1999. The relationship began to mend three years later, but wounds publicly re-emerged last year.

Mr. Peterson, the board chairman-elect, said Mr. Brass intends to stay in the area after his retirement.

Mr. Brass’ non-ProMedica duties include serving on the board of trustees for Ohio State University, where he received a master of science degree in hospital and health services administration in 1973. His OSU board appointment runs until May, 2013.

Shortly before taking the helm at ProMedica on Jan. 19, 1998, Mr. Brass was executive vice president of operations of BJC Health System in St. Louis. He also headed both the Missouri Hospital Association and the board of the Children’s Miracle Network during his 10 years in Missouri.

Mr. Brass previously held administrative jobs at hospitals and health-care systems in Ann Arbor and Columbus.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at: jmckinnon@theblade.com or 419-724-6087.

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