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Allina Health CEO to Retire, COO to Get Promoted

Analysis  |  By Melanie Blackman  
   September 10, 2021

Penny Wheeler, MD, will retire as CEO at the end of the year; Lisa Shannon has been named as her successor.

Allina Health announced two top executive moves on Thursday.

Penny Wheeler, MD, who has served as CEO of the Minneapolis-based health system since 2015, will retire from her position at the end of the year but will remain on the board.

Lisa Shannon, who currently serves as president and COO of the health system, has been named as her successor.

"Allina Health has enabled me to fulfill my purpose to improve the lives of others as both a physician and as a leader,” Wheeler said in a statement. "Along the way, I have collected countless stories from those who I have been so privileged to meet. It is those stories that I will miss the most, but the timing is right for me to step away."

Wheeler's tenure at Allina spans decades. Her career includes working as a physician, serving as president of the medical staff of Abbott Northwestern Hospital, and serving as chief marketing officer for the health system. She was also the first woman and physician to serve as CEO of Allina Health.

"I have tremendous gratitude and optimism for the future of Allina Health under Lisa Shannon’s incredible leadership," Wheeler added.

Shannon, who has served as COO since July 2017 and as president since September 2020, will continue to work closely with Wheeler during the leadership transition.

"I am deeply honored to have been selected to lead Allina Health and am privileged to have been able to work alongside Penny Wheeler for the last four years," Shannon said in a statement. "She has been an exceptional leader, mentor, and friend."

Related: Women in Healthcare Leadership Spotlight: Dr. Penny Wheeler

Melanie Blackman is the strategy editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

Photo credit: WOODBURY, MN, USA - JANUARY 18, 2021: Allina Health clinic facility and trademark logo. / Editorial credit: Ken Wolter /

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