NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The head of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System has stepped down after nearly 10 years at the helm of the Hub City-based medical group.
Saint Peter’s released a statement from its chairman today announcing the resignation of Ronald Rak. At the same time, the chairman said Leslie Hirsch, who was hired in 2015, would take the reins as interim CEO and president of the company, which is sponsored by the Catholic Church.
“On behalf of the Board of Governors and the Bishop of Metuchen, I want to thank Ron for his service to Saint Peters, the Catholic mission and his role in creating our system,” Vincent Dicks, chairman of Saint Peter’s board of governors, said in a statement. “Ron has asked that I share his appreciation of the dedicated staff who worked with him these past nine years.”
Why, exactly, Rak tendered his resignation is unclear. But the statement from the hospital took on a light tone.
“We wish Ron the best of luck in his future,” Dicks wrote, “and please join me and the board in supporting Les as he takes on this additional responsibility.”
Over the next several days, Hirsch plans to spark “additional communications” with employees and community members, according to the healthcare group.
Before coming to Saint Peter’s, Hirsch worked for seven years as president and CEO of Saint Clare’s Health System in Denville. There, he was in charge of a 400-bed and 2,800-employee Catholic medical group that raked in $310 million in revenues per year.
He has tallied 16 years as a top-ranking executive in the industry, according to Saint Peter’s.
The interim CEO has worked in the C-suites of hospital systems in New Orleans, Denver and Camden. He began his career in 1988, according to his biography.
Under his leadership, hospitals have won various awards for patient safety and service quality, including those decided by The Joint Commission and The Leapfrog Group, two respected industry bodies.
Hirsch recently chaired the New Jersey Hospital Association Board of Trustees for two back-to-back one-year terms.
But he has big shoes to fill.
In 2005, as chairman of the Saint Peter’s University Hospital Board of Trustees, Rak created the healthcare system that he came to run two years later.
He previously worked in administrative and legal services for the Diocese of Metuchen. Before that, he was a partner at Sills Cummis & Gross P.C., where he was lead counsel for a number of large institutions.