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Q&A: Parkland's Incoming Interim CEO on Problem Solving

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, August 20, 2012

Q. How did you come to be named as Parkland's new interim CEO?
A. I was with Tenet Healthcare for quite a while and retired last year. I told a number industry contacts that I would be interested in working on assignments on an interim basis. One of those contacts was involved in some of the turnaround process here at Parkland and encouraged the board chair [Debbie Branson] to contact me. I spoke with the chair and some of the individual board members.

My agreement starts on Sept. 1 but I won't be on site yet. I will be doing a series of orientation calls to make sure that once I am physically here I will be up to speed.

Q. What authority will you have to resolve the problems at Parkland?
A. I think the board views me as the CEO on an interim basis. With the exception of hiring and terminating individuals in the executive ranks I will have full authority to continue the work that's underway and to make the changes that are necessary. I just won't be making high level executive changes without board involvement. No CEO would.

Q. You're credited with turning around Tenet's central states region. What problems did you face?
A. Facilities were going through leadership changes as a result of problems within Tenet. There was a lot of turnover among hospital and corporate executives. When I came on in 2003 I dealt with talent management and talent placement as a means to affect a change in the overall operation of the region. I put new leadership in place and refashioned the executive talent at the facilities. It took several years to get that in place.

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