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CEO of Penn State Health to retire

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Craig Hillemeier, Penn State Health CEO and Penn State College of Medicine dean, is retiring this summer.
Craig Hillemeier, Penn State Health CEO and Penn State College of Medicine dean, is retiring this summer. - (Photo / )

A driving force in Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center's growth into a regional health system, Penn State Health CEO and Penn State College of Medicine dean Craig Hillemeier will be retiring this year after nearly 20 years of leadership with the institution.

The university will begin creating a plan to transition to new leadership in the coming weeks as Hillemeier prepares to leave this summer, Penn State said Thursday.

As CEO and dean since 2014, Hillemeier oversaw Penn State Health’s partnership with Highmark Health and has been a key player in the growth of both the school’s college of medicine and Penn State Health, according to Penn State University President Eric Barron.

“Both Penn State Health and College of Medicine are experiencing a period of unprecedented growth and positive change, much of it coming under Craig’s thoughtful leadership,” Barron said in a statement.

Hillemeier has worn many hats since starting in 2001 as chair of pediatrics and medical director of Penn State Children’ Hospital. During his years with Penn State, he has been interim executive director of the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, vice dean for clinical affairs at the medical center and director and chief operating officer at Penn State Health Medical Group.

“Craig has contributed tremendously during his tenure at the helm of our health enterprise and medical school, as well as during his nearly 20 years in other leadership capacities at the University,” Barron said.

He was also named Business Diversity Champion of the year in 2017 by the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and Capital Region Economic Development Corporation  for his requirement at both Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine that at least one minority candidate be considered in the hiring of any senior leadership position.

Penn State University’s academic medical operations include the Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey Medical Center, Penn State Children’s Hospital, Penn State Health St. Joseph in Berks County and Penn State Health Medical Group. Together the operations serves over 2.8 million people, according to the system.

In 2015, Penn State's Board of Trustees approved a merger between the medical center and PinnacleHealth System in Harrisburg with Hillemeier becoming CEO of the re-branded Penn State Health. The system kept the name but in 2016, called off the proposed partnership with PinnacleHealth after a year-long court battle with the Federal Trade Commission.

The university expects to have additional details on an upcoming leadership transition plan along with timelines of when new leadership can be expected to take Hillemeier’s roles, after a Board of Trustees meeting on Feb. 22.

“Serving as the dean and CEO of Penn State’s medical school and health system has been the most rewarding opportunity of my professional career,” Hillemeier said.

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Ioannis Pashakis

Ioannis Pashakis

Ioannis Pashakis covers health care and Lancaster County. Email him at ipashakis@cpbj.com.

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