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Analysis

New DaVita CEO Announced as Thiry Transitions to Executive Chairman

By Jack O'Brien  
   April 29, 2019

Javier J. Rodriguez, CEO of DaVita Kidney Care, will take the helm of the entire company effective June 1.

Denver-based kidney care services provider DaVita Inc. announced its CEO succession plan Monday morning, naming Javier J. Rodriguez as its new CEO effective June 1.

Rodriguez has been with DaVita since 1998, serving in a number of roles before taking over as CEO of DaVita Kidney Care in 2014.

Rodriguez will replace CEO Kent Thiry, who has held the position since 1999, as he transitions to the role of executive chairman for the company.

C-suite perspective:

"I am deeply grateful for my opportunity to be a part of the DaVita journey, with thousands of teammates for whom I have immense respect and affection," Thiry said in a statement. "We have done so many wonderful things for patients and their families. I am excited that Javier Rodriguez, with whom I have partnered for 20 years, will succeed me. The Village is in a strong position for the next chapter, and Javier is the right person to build on our foundation and take us to the next level of clinical and economic performance."

Rodriguez echoed Thiry's sentiments about the positive outlook for the company, expressing confidence in DaVita's business strategy going forward.

"I am honored to be the next CEO of DaVita, and I greatly appreciate the confidence that both Kent and the board have placed in me," Rodriguez said in a statement. "I also want to thank Kent for his leadership and continued support as executive chairman. DaVita is positioned well to execute on significant opportunities ahead and I look forward to working with the team on the next phase of our evolution to benefit our patients, teammates, physician partners and healthcare community as a whole."

One of the first items likely on Rodriguez's list when he assumes the CEO position will be navigating the closing stages of the still-pending sale of DaVita Medical Group to UnitedHealth Group's Optum.

The deal, first announced in late 2017, was expected to close in Q1 but has plodded through the regulatory process and even suffered a price reduction in mid-December.

UnitedHealth lowered its purchasing offer from $4.9 billion to $4.4 billion, citing in part "underlying business performance." 

Jonathan Kanarek, a Moody's analyst, told HealthLeaders in December that several states are also aiming to implement legislation to limit dialysis profits from commercial insurers, a development that he expects to increase business costs for DaVita.

Related: As DaVita Sale Nears, Moody's Questions Dialysis Growth  

DaVita also produced a mixed Q4 2018 earnings report, with positive cash flows and net revenues of $2.8 billion, but the dialysis provider also reported a $150 million loss. 

Related: DaVita Finishes Q4 With $150M Net Loss  

DaVita will release its Q1 2019 earnings report on May 7, hosting its quarterly conference call after markets close.

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: St. Joseph, Missouri / United States of America - March 26 2019: Davita Kidney Care in downtown St. Joseph. - Image / Editorial credit: APN Photography / Shutterstock.com


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