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Gianrico Farrugia selected to lead Mayo Clinic

Gianrico Farrugia selected to lead Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic's governing body has tapped Dr. Gianrico Farrugia to succeed Dr. John Noseworthy as the organization's next president and CEO.

Farrugia, now the CEO of Mayo in Florida, was selected by the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees following an internal search process that included input from senior leaders, physicians and voting staff across the organization.

“Dr. Farrugia is a visionary and servant leader who brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge ─ both as an innovator and an executive,” Noseworthy said in a statement. 

The selection of Farrugia, a native of the small Mediterranean island-state of Malta, follows Noseworthy's announcement in February to retire after nine years leading the Rochester-based health system. It was around the same time that Noseworthy chose Farrugia to stand in his place at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“I am humbled and proud to follow and build upon this success with the best staff in the world,” Farrugia said in a statement released Friday. “While sea change continues to sweep through health care, I look forward to harnessing innovation, a hallmark of Mayo Clinic, to transform health care for the benefit of patients everywhere.”

Under Noseworthy's leadership, the clinic has consistently been ranked among the top hospitals in the U.S. While there were a few public missteps during his tenure, such as leaked comments about prioritizing privately-insured patients, he will largely be remembered for navigating Mayo through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, expanding the clinic's global brand, loosening restrictions to allow physicians to start businesses, and initiating the $5.6 billion Destination Medical Center build-out.

“We are deeply grateful for Dr. Noseworthy’s outstanding patient-centered leadership and inspiration he provided over the past nine years,” said Samuel Di Piazza, chair of the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees.

Noseworthy will remain on as president and CEO through his retirement at the end of 2018. During that time, he plans to work with Farrugia to ensure a smooth transition.

Farrugia, a Mayo physician of 30 years, is the co-author of Think Big, Start Small, Move Fast: A Blueprint for Transformation From the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, a book highlighting the need for change in the delivery of health care. He has also published more than 250 articles on genomics and the treatment of disorders of gastrointestinal motility.

Prior to becoming CEO of the Jacksonsville campus, Farrugia spent time in Rochester as director of Mayo Clinic's Center for Individualized Medicine. He was also a co-founder of the Center for Innovation at Mayo Clinic. 

As for, what type of leadership style can the 64,000-plus Mayo Clinic employees expect? Farrugia discussed the very topic in 2017 during the clinic's Transform conference.

“We want — we expect our leaders to be servant leaders and, in fact, if you are not a servant leader at Mayo Clinic, you are going to fail and you are going to fail fast," he told the crowd.

“Servant leaders, of course, are people who put others above themselves. Servant leaders are there to inspire," he added. "Servant leaders are there to empower others to unlock their full potential. Servant leaders are there to inspire trust, to give people courage. When a servant leader does that, then you as an employee feel more empowered, you make better decisions, you feel happier, the organization does better, consumers gravitate toward that organization, or in our case, patients get better care.”

Farrugia follows a long line of accomplished physicians who have taken on the top post at Mayo Clinic. Unique to Mayo is a policy mandating that all CEOs must be physicians and must come from within the organization.

Cover photo: Dr. Gianrico Farrugia / Courtesy Mayo Clinic

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