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Ascension Names Interim CEO, New Leadership Team

By Steven Porter  
   June 11, 2019

The system's long-serving top executive will continue on as board chair for the nonprofit's newly created healthcare investment fund.

Less than three months after announcing the planned retirement of CEO Anthony R. Tersigni, EdD, FACHE, Ascension has named Tersigni's interim successor, along with a revised leadership team for the St. Louis–based Catholic health system and a new investment fund.

Joseph R. Impicciche, JD, MHA, who has been Ascension's president and chief operating officer since a leadership overhaul in January, will assume the duties of transitional president and CEO in less than three weeks, on July 1, the organization said in Tuesday's announcement.

Tersigni, meanwhile, will become board chair for the organization's newly created healthcare investment fund, Ascension Capital LLC. The fund will be led by President and CEO Anthony J. Speranzo, who has been Ascension's executive vice president and chief financial officer. Tersigni will also continue providing consulting services to the Ascension board and working with the Global Solidarity Fund, according to the announcement.

Tersigni described Impicchiche as "a gifted and talented servant leader" whom he and the board selected after a thorough succession planning process.

"Over the past several years, the Board and I have been working to cultivate a leadership team that is fully prepared to take our health ministry boldly into the future," Tersigni said in a statement. "Our focus on leadership development and formation has created a depth of capable, creative and committed virtuous servant leaders with a firm foundation in our Catholic identity and principles, and I have great confidence in the future of this health ministry as we continue to transform ourselves.

"As I reflect on how far our health ministry has come since we joined together nearly 20 years ago, and more importantly, how Ascension is positioning itself for the future, I am grateful for the opportunity I've had to serve as CEO and I'm confident that we will continue our transformation to best meet the needs of the individuals and communities we serve," Tersigni added.

In addition to Impicciche's promotion, the announcement listed several new and continuing members of the Ascension leadership team:

  • Karen Springer will become executive vice president of performance optimization and nursing operations.
  • Herbert J. Vallier will continue to serve as executive vice president and chief human resources officer.
  • Elizabeth Foshage will become executive vice president and chief financial officer. (Speranzo will vacate the position for his new role with Ascension Capital.)
  • Craig Cordola will become executive vice president and chief operating officer.
  • Eduardo Conrado will become executive vice president and chief strategy and innovations officer.
  • Christine Kocot McCoy, JD, will become executive vice president and general counsel after serving as a senior vice president since January.
  • Joe Cacchione, MD, FACC, will become executive vice president of clinical and network services.
  • Nick Ragone will become executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer.
  • Sister Maureen McGuire, DC, will continue to serve as executive vice president and chief mission integration officer.
  • Eric Engler will become executive vice president and chief of staff.

The leadership changes that were previously announced in January included the elimination of the Ascension Healthcare CEO position, effective July 1.

Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: Ascension's retiring CEO Anthony Tersigni (left) and incoming interim President and CEO Joseph Impicciche (right), photos provided


The interim CEO had been named president and CEO earlier this year.

The organization's CFO will become CEO of a new investment fund.

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