Longtime Ascension Executive Robert J. Henkel to Retire


Ascension, the largest faith-based and non-profit health system in the U.S, has today announced three major changes to its executive leadership, as president and CEO Robert J. Henkel has decided to retire from the organization after joining the Sisters of St. Joseph Health System in founding Ascension Health in 1998. The changes will go into effect on July 1.

“An ever-evolving health ministry such as Ascension —based on personal encounters and interpersonal relationships — is defined by the people who serve within it,” says Anthony R. Tersigni, president and CEO of Ascension. “Each of these three tremendous leaders adds to the long legacy of Ascension and strengthens our ability to fulfill the Mission of compassionate, personalized service we continue to bring to life on behalf of our historical religious sponsors.”

Patricia Maryland, current healthcare operations and CEO for Ascension Healthcare will assume Henkel’s role, after previously serving as president of healthcare operations and COO of Ascension Healthcare. As executive vice president and CEO of Ascension and president and CEO of Ascension Healthcare, Maryland will be responsible for strategic and operational aspects of the 141 hospitals and 2,500 sites of care in 24 states that comprise Ascension’s healthcare division. 

Previously, Maryland has also served as the Michigan ministry market leader for Ascension and the president and CEO of St. John Providence Health System in Warren, where she promoted alignment among health ministries within Ascension Michigan. She’s also served as president of St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital and executive vice president and COO for St. Vincent Health, following her tenure as president of Sinai-Grace Hospital and senior vice president of Detroit Medical Center. She’s also worked as executive vice president and COO at North Oakland Medical Centers in Pontiac and at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider is expected to assume Maryland’s former role as executive vice president and COO, after leaving his position as president of DePaul University in Chicago, the nation’s largest Catholic university. 

Additionally, Ascension is forming a new subsidiary, Ascension Consulting Network, an initiative that will allow retired senior leaders, including Henkel, to continue to serve the organization in varying capacities.

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