UC Hospitals’ Riordan to resign after five years

By Ethan Frenchman

Michael C. Riordan, the president and chief executive officer of the University of Chicago Hospitals (UCH), announced his resignation Tuesday. Riordan will end his five-year term effective July 1.

Riordan said that his work for the University no longer coincided with his own professional goals.

“Just as we worked to map out a long-range plan for the hospital, I have long-term goals for my own career path, which include the desire to put my experience and talents to a new and different test,” Riordan said in an e-mail interview. “I felt that the five-year mark, and where we are as an institution, was the right time to put my next steps into place.”

During his tenure, Riordan oversaw a number of significant projects, including the construction of the Comer Children’s Hospital, the Comer Specialty Care Centers, and the development of Vision 2010, the UCH long-term planning project.

“Under Mike’s leadership, the hospital has excelled in delivering superb patient care, excellent financial management, and health care leadership within the community,” said James Crown, chairman of the University Board of Trustees and a UCH trustee, in a statement.

Tom McGrath, the interim vice president of UCH and director of Comer Children’s Hosptial, agreed. “He was a tremendous talent at bringing physicians and administrators together to improve the hospital,” McGrath said. “It is a tremendous loss for the University.”

Riordan’s departure comes at a time when the UCH are set to undergo many changes, including the construction of a new 12-story hospital pavilion that would span two blocks on East 57th Street. Other changes include further construction and a five-year initiative to revolutionize The Phoenix Project, the UCH information system.

“It seems like the right time to move on,” Riordan said. “I wouldn’t want to leave in the middle of some of these projects.” The new pavilion, The Phoenix Project, and other construction are part of the Vision 2010 project.

Riordan believes that he is leaving the UCH Hospitals in a strong position. “I am very proud of what we—not by any means just me—have accomplished over the last five years. I feel really good about the financial strength of the Hospitals and senior management team in place here,” he said.

Riordan said he also trusts that Vision 2010 will succeed as “a long-range plan to build one of the leading health care facilities in the region into a national model for flexible hospital design and for the care of complex patients.”

Regarding his future plans, Riordan is unsure of where he will go once he leaves the UCH. “I have a couple things in mind, and a couple more I want to consider, but I’m not yet at a point to make a commitment to any of them,” Riordan said.

Riordan, 42, received a B.A. in liberal arts and English in 1980 and an M.A. in education and psychology in 1981, both from Columbia University. He then served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1981 to 1985. Following his service, Riordan received a master’s degree in health systems from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1986.

In 2002, Riordan came to the UCH as executive vice president and chief operating officer after heading Emory University hospital in Atlanta. He was made president in 2001.