Sharon O’Keefe is retiring this summer as president of the University of Chicago Medical Center after nearly a decade in the role. Taking over will be Thomas Jackiewicz, CEO at Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California.

O’Keefe, a Chicago native with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Northern Illinois University, joined UCMC as president in 2011 and was named chief operating officer of the greater UChicago Medicine health system in 2017.

During her tenure, O’Keefe saw UChicago Medicine through the opening of its Center for Care and Discovery, purchase of Ingalls Memorial Hospital, and ambulatory expansion.

After more than 40 years in leadership roles at academic medical centers, including Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, her retirement comes at a particularly challenging time for hospitals battling COVID-19.

Earlier this month, O’Keefe announced cost-cutting measures at UCMC, including furloughing non-clinical workers and postponing planned capital projects, in an effort to “stabilize the financial performance of the organization and limit the need for a reduction in workforce.”

As president of the hospital and chief operating officer of the system, Jackiewicz will pick up where O’Keefe leaves off when she retires July 24.

Jackiewicz is the right person to “continue the University of Chicago’s legacy of advancing the forefront of medicine through outstanding patient-centered clinical care, scientific discovery and innovation, and continued growth as an academic health system, “UChicago Medicine President Dr. Kenneth Polonsky said in a statement.

While at Keck Medicine, which operates three hospitals and more than 40 outpatient centers, Jackiewicz grew USC’s medical enterprise into a $2 billion regional academic health system, the statement says.

Source: UChicago Medicine taps USC exec as hospital president, system COO