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Kansas City, Kan. Despite calls for a nationwide search, the Kansas University Hospital board on Tuesday looked within the hospital to find its next CEO.
The board voted 15-3 to appoint Bob Page, the hospital's chief operating officer, to replace outgoing president and CEO Irene Cumming. Page oversees the hospital's daily operations and is credited with helping bring the hospital back from the edge of bankruptcy in the past decade.
"To me, this is a validation that we're on the right path," Page said.
Details of his two-year appointment will be resolved by July 1.
Cumming resigned last week amid negotiations about the hospital's relationship with Kansas University Medical Center, which staffs the hospital with doctors and medical students. KUMC leaders want to affiliate with St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., one of KU Hospital's primary competitors.
"These negotiations have slowed progress," Page said. "The tension that exists on the campus has got to go away."
Voting against Page's hiring were KU Provost Richard Lariviere; Tom Murphy, a senior vice president with Sprint; and Barbara Atkinson, KUMC executive vice chancellor and dean of the medical school.
Atkinson said her vote wasn't against Page but reflected her desire to have a national search process.
"It would have told the country what exciting things are happening here," she said.
KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway voted yes.
"I believe that we should have done a search. I didn't want my vote to be interpreted as negative toward Bob Page," he said.