The Top 25
CEO, University Hospitals
The Power 100 List
Greater Akron, Cuyahoga County, Lake County, Lorain County, Mahoning Valley
#1 Sandy Cutler,
Chairman and CEO,
#3 Christopher Connor,
Chairman and CEO,
The Sherwin-Williams Co.
Tale of Two Cities
#4 Dan Gilbert,
Majority owner, Cleveland Cavaliers; chairman, Quicken Loans Inc.; principal, Rock Gaming
#6 Anthony Alexander,
President and CEO, FirstEnergy Corp.
#13 Beth Mooney,
President, COO, and incoming chairman and CEO, KeyCorp
County Executive Ed FitzGerald talks economic development
Women on Power
Five women on our list provide their views
Good Years, Bad Years
Tracking ups and downs
How November's winds blew in change
2010 honorees who didn't
make the list
Severance Hall was packed elbow to elbow with some of Cleveland’s most prominent local leaders. Tom Zenty, CEO of University Hospitals, had called the 1,200 attendees together by invitation for a surprise November announcement.
As camera crews arrived, an excited buzz circulated among UH’s doctors and staff. Trumpets sounded and Zenty introduced the largest donation ever to the hospital system: $42 million from Jane and Lee Seidman of Pepper Pike toward the new cancer center nearing completion a block away.
What one attendee called a “triumphant celebration” launched a bold new chapter in Zenty’s tenure at UH: the public phase of a $1 billion fundraising campaign. The gala also marked an accomplishment that will come to fruition early this year, when the Seidman Cancer Center opens its doors in University Circle and UH’s new Ahuja Medical Center opens in Beachwood. The debuts represent the grand culmination of Zenty’s Vision 2010 — a five-year strategic plan to grow and improve the hospital system.
“We are bringing world-class medicine as close to the people of Northeast Ohio as we can possibly provide it,” Zenty says. “We are moving into Concord, Medina, Twinsburg, to where people live and work.”
The Ahuja Medical Center was strategically placed right off I-271 so it’d be accessible to people in all of Cleveland’s eastern suburbs, Zenty says. And the Seidman Cancer Center will be the only freestanding cancer center from Cleveland to Columbus.
Both were built with room for expansion. One floor of the 120-bed Seidman Center has been mothballed, with room for 30 additional beds. The Ahuja campus has room for two more patient towers, additional offices and 456 more beds. The hospital system will wait for need before it builds out the facilities.
“We didn’t overextend ourselves by any means,” Zenty says.
The two gleaming new buildings stand as symbols of Zenty’s leadership, his knack for balancing business savvy with top-notch care for patients.
“He cares about the quality of the experience while maintaining a financially strong organization so that UH can continue to be a leader in the industry,” says Heather Ettinger, a UH board member and managing partner of Fairport Asset Management in Cleveland.
It’s a 180-degree change for UH, which was bleeding red before Zenty took the reins.
In 2003, when Zenty arrived from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, UH was struggling with huge operating losses and falling quality of care. Zenty unloaded the insurance plan QualChoice and several struggling facilities, including Laurelwood Hospital in Willoughby and St. Michael Hospital in Cleveland. UH quickly rebounded, saw upgraded bond ratings and experienced operating surpluses for the first time in years.
UH, a nonprofit organization now supported by more than 50,000 donors, has been in the black every year since Zenty arrived. The $1 billion fundraising campaign quietly launched in Zenty’s first year, Discover the Difference, recently reached the $685 million mark and opened its public phase at November’s Severance Hall gala.
Zenty deflects praise for UH’s progress, saying he prefers to involve physicians, senior management, the board of directors and the public in his decision-making. He describes his management style as consensus-driven, engaging and communicative.
“When I talk with professionals who work with him, including those who have come from competing organizations, they talk about how he has created a culture that is respectful of all opinions,” Ettinger says.
Board member April Miller Boise, partner-in-charge of Cleveland’s Thompson Hine office, says Zenty impressed her when he told her he trusted his own staff to assist the board’s strategic planning committee — a job usually given to external management consultants.
“Tom hires people with excellent credentials and then empowers them to do their job the very best they can,” Miller Boise says. “He trusts their judgment and doesn’t try to micromanage. Tom is comfortable working with very intelligent people.”
Next year, Zenty and his team will introduce a new strategic plan for UH’s next three years. The hospital will roll out system-wide electronic medical records and adapt to the new federal health care law.
He calls the passing of the health care law one of the defining moments of his year because UH needs to plan for patients’ increased access to care and the costs that will come with it.
“Tom is a visionary,” Miller Boise says. “He is very forward thinking, always considering what’s going on with health care reform and how that will impact UH and our patients.”