• By Karl W Oestreich

Mayo Clinic elects Kent Thielen, M.D., CEO of its Florida operations; Mayo’s Board of Trustees also names two new members

November 9, 2018

portrait of Dr. Kent Thielen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees announced on Friday, Nov. 9, that it has elected Kent Thielen, M.D., (TEE-Lin) vice president, Mayo Clinic, and CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida. Dr. Thielen succeeds Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., who will become president and CEO, Mayo Clinic, on Jan. 1, 2019. In the meantime, Dr. Farrugia will continue to serve in his role as vice president, Mayo Clinic, and CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida. Drs. Farrugia and Thielen will work closely through this transition. The board also welcomed Jay Alix and George Bilicic as new public members.

“Dr. Thielen is an exceptional and proven leader who brings a wealth of experience to the position and a steadfast commitment to Mayo Clinic’s mission, values and culture,” says Samuel Di Piazza, chair, Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees. “He has a bold and strategic vision for the way Mayo Clinic will use innovation to further improve patient care and advance Mayo’s leadership in medical education and research."

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video w/Dr. Thielen(TEE-Lin) is in the downloads at the end of the post.
Please ‘Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network.’

Dr. Thielen, a Minnesota native, first came to Mayo Clinic as a resident in Radiology in 1990. He has been a member of the Mayo Clinic staff since 1996. Dr. Thielen serves in several leadership roles. As chair, Midwest Department of Radiology, which encompasses leadership of Mayo Clinic Health System and Rochester Radiology operations, Dr. Thielen leads a staff of 260 physicians and physicists, 52 residents, 24 fellows, and 1,500 allied health staff.

Since 2013, Dr. Thielen has led integration efforts between the Mayo Clinic Health System and Rochester practices to create the Midwest Department of Radiology. He significantly expanded scholarship and research support infrastructure within the Department of Radiology. From 2013 to 2017, the Rochester Department of Radiology steadily climbed from 19th to eighth in national rankings of National Institutes of Health awards to academic radiology departments.

Also, as chair of the Enterprise Radiology Specialty Council, Dr. Thielen leads the integration of Radiology practices across Mayo Clinic. He also led the planning and implementation for the new health records system throughout all Radiology departments at Mayo. Dr. Thielen previously served as chair, Division of Neuroradiology, in the Department of Radiology from 2004 to 2013.

“I’m humbled, honored and excited to continue to build upon Dr. Farrugia’s outstanding legacy, which includes his involvement and leadership in the Jacksonville community, and to accelerate Mayo’s efforts in discovery and world-class innovation,” Dr. Thielen says. “I’m looking forward to working collaboratively with my colleagues to ensure the Florida campus continues to grow its stellar reputation as a leader in patient care, education and research.”

Dr. Thielen received his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from South Dakota State University in 1986 and his doctor of medicine degree from the University of Minnesota in 1990. Dr. Thielen then completed his residency training in diagnostic radiology at the Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education in Rochester, Minn., serving as chief resident from 1993 to 1994. He subsequently completed a three-year combined fellowship in diagnostic and interventional neuroradiology at the Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education in Rochester.

As leader of Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus, Dr. Thielen will work with Christina Zorn, J.D., vice chair, Administration, and chief administrative officer, Mayo Clinic in Florida, to provide leadership and direction, define and implement Mayo Clinic’s operational plan, and expand Mayo Clinic’s leadership and reach in the Southeast.

“Mayo Clinic in Florida has seen tremendous growth under Dr. Farrugia’s leadership and is well-positioned to serve as the destination medical center for the Southeast,” Dr. Thielen says. “I look forward to working with Florida’s leadership and staff, as well as our external partners, to continue to develop our capabilities in Florida and provide new solutions and world-class care for patients, ongoing innovative research and a range of excellent educational offerings.”

Dr. Farrugia has been vice president, Mayo Clinic, and CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida, since January 2015. In this role, he has led a staff of more than 6,400 staff members. During his tenure, Mayo Clinic's Florida campus has established itself as the premier destination medical center for the Southeast. There have been significant investments in people, technology and facilities, including the opening of the new 190,000-square-foot Harry T. Mangurian Jr. Building for patients seeking cancer, neurology and neurosurgical care. Since 2016, Mayo Clinic has been named the best hospital in Florida in U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals rankings.

“Mayo Clinic’s mission and values are at the forefront of everything we do, and that makes our incredible staff our greatest asset,” Dr. Farrugia says. “With Dr. Thielen’s deep grounding in Mayo’s special culture and values, he will be a tremendous advocate for our employees and ensure the focus will continue to be on meeting the needs of the patients we serve.”

The thorough search process to elect Dr. Thielen included a survey sent to Mayo Clinic voting staff, interviews with Mayo Clinic trustees, and conversations with physician and administrative leaders at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus. Valuable input was obtained regarding potential candidates, the challenges facing Mayo Clinic and the leadership attributes needed for this position.

“Dr. Thielen is firmly committed to Mayo’s mission, so I know that as CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida, he will continue to push for the highest standards and quality of care, research and education, and that he will support and advance collaboration between our physicians, researchers and partners to find new solutions for patients,” Dr. Farrugia says.

New Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees members
Jay Alix and George Bilicic bring a wealth of experience to bear as new board members.

Jay Alix
Alix founded AlixPartners LLP, the global advisory firm and industry standard for providing comprehensive solutions for companies facing complex operating, financial, legal and restructuring challenges. Sought out by corporate and government leaders alike, he has led and advised on some of the largest and most complex restructurings and turnarounds of the past four decades, including leading the creation, design and development of the restructuring and turnaround plan to bring General Motors Co. in and out of bankruptcy in just 40 days. Having sold control of the firm in 2006, today Alix serves as one of 14 board members and a mentor to AlixPartners' leaders.

In addition to his past consulting work and private equity investment experience, Alix has lectured widely; written many articles on turnaround management; co-authored two books on the financial issues facing companies in reorganization; and given many speeches on corporate transitions, turnarounds and the corporate revitalization process.

portrait of Jay Alix

Former President Bill Clinton appointed Alix to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission in December 1994, the only businessperson and nonlawyer to serve on the nine-member commission. He served as a strategic adviser to Dennis Archer during his first term as mayor of Detroit in 1994. The Turnaround Management Association presented Alix with the 2002 Chairman's Award in recognition of his "pioneering leadership role" in helping to create and build the turnaround industry. The Japanese Association for Turnaround Professionals honored him as its Inaugural Foreign Member in April 2003.  He received the Harvey R. Miller Outstanding Achievement Award for Service to the Restructuring Industry in November 2004. Alix was awarded Wayne State University's 2005 Michigan Executive of the Year award.

Since 2006, Alix has focused on pro bono advisory and creative activities, including producing award-winning documentary films, six-time Tony-winning Broadway musicals and plays, and Grammy-nominated music. He has actively helped restructure the Detroit Public School System and helped the Norman Rockwell Museum advance its mission internationally.

Alix completed the YPO/Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. He holds an MBA in accounting from Rutgers University and a bachelor's degree in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He began his career as a certified public accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York City.

George Bilicic
Bilicic serves as vice chairman of Investment Banking; head of Midwest Investment Banking; and global head of Power, Energy and Infrastructure at Lazard Freres & Co. LLC. In addition, he is a member of the firm’s Global Executive Committee. Bilicic has been with the firm since 2002.

Bilicic was a managing director and head of infrastructure at KKR, where he was responsible for initiating and leading the firm's global infrastructure investing efforts, and contributing to areas including alternative energy and power.

Previously, he was a partner in the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, where his diverse corporate practice primarily focused on mergers and acquisitions but also included bank financings, joint ventures, public offerings, project finance and swaps. Bilicic also served as a managing director in the Mergers and Acquisitions Department at Merrill Lynch, where he focused on power and energy clients.

portrait of George Bilicic

Bilicic also serves as a member of the board of directors of Polaris Industries Inc. He has been involved in a number of community and not-for-profit organizations, and is a member of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the board of trustees of the Museum of Science and Industry, and the Board of Directors of the Georgetown University Law School.

Additional Resources

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