Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Atrium execs to head finance, law, HR functions for combined hospitals

Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health, which combined last week to form the fifth-largest nonprofit U.S. hospital operator, named an executive leadership team.

The organizations have insisted that the transaction isn’t a merger because there isn’t a financial exchange related to the transaction and the two organizations aren’t assuming liability for each other’s debt.

The new leadership roster for Advocate Health splits key jobs between the two organizations akin a corporate “merger of equals.” Advocate Aurora, which is based in a Chicago suburb, has more revenue than Atrium. But the combined headquarters will be in Charlotte and Atrium leaders will be running the critical finance, law and HR functions.

The group’s board is split evenly between the two organizations, though the chair will be Charlotte’s Tom Nelson, who is CEO of National Gypsum.

Advocate’s Jim Skogsbergh will be co-CEO with Atrium’s Gene Woods before the Illinois executive’s retirement in 18 months.

Top executives of Charlotte-based Atrium named as senior executives include:

Anthony DeFurio, chief financial officer: He joined Atrium Health in 2017 after working for several other hospital operators including the University of Iowa Hospitals and HCA Healthcare.

Brett J. Denton, chief legal officer: He joined Atrium in 1999. He has been a senior vice president, regional executive and deputy general counsel.

Jim Dunn, chief people and culture officer: He joined Atrium in 2018 after working as a HR executive at various groups including BP Amoco and the Cleveland Clinic. 

Julie A. Freischlag, chief academic officer and CEO, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist: She was CEO of Wake Forest Baptist when the Winston-Salem-based hospital group agreed to combine with Atrium. She is a vascular surgeon.

Ken D. Haynes, president, Advocate Health – Southeast Region: He has been a top Atrium exec since 2017 after previously working for several other health systems.

Carol A. Lovin, chief integration officer: An Atrium executive since 2007, she has had key roles overseeing business development, M&A,  strategy, communications and community engagement.

Scott Rissmiller, chief physician officer: Scott has worked at Atrium since 1999 and was deputy chief physician executive.

Rasu B. Shrestha,  chief innovation and commercialization officer: He joined Atrium in 2019 after serving as an executive at UPMC in Pittsburgh. He has been a chief strategy leader at Atrium.

Senior Advocate executives were named to lead functions that include communications, diversity-equity-inclusion, information services, government affairs, nursing and strategy. The chief medical officer is also an Advocate veteran.

Advocate Health serves nearly 6 million patients annually across Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wisconsin. It operates more than 1,000 sites and 67 hospitals while employing nearly 150,000 people. Revenue is expected to top $27 billion, while the two hospital systems have investment portfolios that, if combined, would top $20 billion.

David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at

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