David A. Whitehead is named Backus Hospital’s next President and Chief Executive Officer, and he will formally assume the duties of that office on July 1. Peter V. Disch, Chairman of the Board and head of the Leadership Transition Committee, said the decision to promote Dave was approved by the Board at its regular monthly meeting Monday, April 27th. Members of the medical staff and hospital employees were informed of the decision at special meetings early Tuesday morning.
“Dave is the right person, at the right time, to perform this difficult job,” Peter said. “He knows how to lead, how to motivate, and how to set high standards that get met. Our hospital is fortunate to have a leader of Dave’s caliber ready to move Backus forward, and the Board is extremely pleased that he has accepted this challenge.”
Dave, 48, joined Backus in 1999 and served as the hospital’s Vice President for Planning since 2003. In that role, he developed and organized the Board-approved 2007 Strategic Planning process. He served as a liaison to the Board to improve communications and clarify trustees’ responsibilities. He also worked with physicians to more closely align the goals of the medical staff and the hospital.
Before joining Backus, Dave worked for Gannett Co., Inc as President and Publisher of Norwich Bulletin. Dave is involved in numerous civic and service organizations in addition to his hospital duties.
“It is an incredible honor to be asked to lead such a talented team,” Dave said. “Backus is a superb hospital with a proven track record for performance and compassionate care. I look forward to working with everyone in my new role.”
Thomas P. Pipicelli will serve as President and CEO until July 1, when he will transition to a new role as President of Backus Corporation.
“I congratulate Dave on his appointment by the Board, and wish him success in the future,” Thomas said. “As Dave knows first-hand, Backus has a talented and dedicated staff. It has been my privilege to work with them for the past 15 years.”
Medical Staff President Stephen T. Briggs, MD, said physicians look forward to working with the next CEO.
“The medical staff, administration and hospital staff share a common goal to improve health,” Stephen said. “We look forward to this opportunity to work collaboratively with Dave and his team.”
Dave thanked Thomas for his leadership, and expressed his confidence that the staff would continue to build on a proud tradition of progress.
“Throughout my life, I have seen Backus grow and improve,” Dave said. “First, as a kid who played on what used to be the hospital’s front lawn, then as a resident and dad whose own kids sometimes needed hospital services, and – for the past 10 years – as an employee. Backus is truly a community treasure.”
Asked to state his leadership priorities, Dave listed three: “Put patients first – always. Listen actively to stakeholders: employees, medical staff, volunteers and the community. Find strategic ways to collaborate and coordinate to meet the region’s healthcare needs.”
Dave said he intends to spend much of the time between now and July 1 meeting informally with stakeholders across the organization to solicit ideas and information that “will continue to position Backus for success in fulfilling our mission.”
“We know there are a lot of challenges in the healthcare industry,” he said. “But we’ve got bright people with great ideas. That’s the best combination any leader can hope for.”