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St. Luke's in Minnesota Names New CEO

By Steven Porter  
   June 12, 2019

The health system's new top executive comes from a CHI Health hospital with Level 1 trauma center certification.

St. Luke's, a nonprofit health system based in Duluth, Minnesota, named a new top executive Tuesday.

Kevin Nokels, MBA, FACHE, will become St. Luke's president and CEO effective August 12, taking the place of John Strange, who retired earlier this year after more than two decades at the organization's helm, the board of directors said.

Nokels currently serves as president of CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center–Bergan Mercy in Omaha, Nebraska. He was selected to lead St. Luke's after an executive search firm helped the system narrow down a list of more than 100 initial prospects, according to the board's announcement.

Jeff Borling, who chairs the St. Luke's board and its CEO search committee, said the system is fortunate to have found Nokels.

"Kevin has the vision and leadership qualities that will allow St. Luke's to continue thriving," Borling said in a statement. "He has also demonstrated a commitment in his many years of experience to ensuring that care is patient centered, which is certainly at the core of everything St. Luke's does."

St. Luke's is a two-hospital system with more than 40 primary and specialty care clinics serving northeastern Minnesota, northwestern Wisconsin, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

News of Nokels' departure from CUMC–Bergan Mercy comes two years after the hospital's trauma center relocated to a new facility, which later secured certification as a Level 1 trauma center, as the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Nokels said in the St. Luke's statement that he's looking forward to working with the system's "great medical staff and team."

"I see this as an incredible opportunity to make health care even better in the region," he said.

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

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