University President Mary Sue Coleman announced today that she has named Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz as the University of Michigan Health System’s next CEO and executive vice president for medical affairs.

Courtesy of UMHS

Pescovitz will be the first woman and third person to serve as executive vice president and CEO of UMHS, a position that was created in 1997.

Pescovitz’s appointment is contingent upon final approval by the Board of Regents at its monthly meeting on March 19. If the regents approve Pescovitz for the position, she will succeed Robert Kelch, who currently serves as executive vice president and CEO of UMHS, and will begin her new position on May 11. Kelch plans to retire later this year.

Pescovitz is being offered $700,000 in base compensation from May 2009 to September 2010. She will also be eligible to earn up to $150,000 in performance incentives and $100,000 in deferred compensation each year. Pescovitz will only receive the deferred compensation money if she stays at UMHS for at least five years.

In her position, Pescovitz will manage the Health System, which includes the Medical School, School of Nursing, Hospitals and Health Centers and the Michigan Health Corporation. The Hospital and Health Centers have an annual operating budget of more than $1.5 billion.

Pescovitz currently serves as the executive associate dean for research affairs and interim vice president for research administration at the Indiana University School of Medicine and is president and CEO of the Riley Hospital for Children.

She is a graduate of the Northwestern University Medical School and is a well-recognized pediatric endocrinologist. She has published approximately 180 manuscripts and books with her research, which focuses on certain causes and therapies for growth disorders and puberty conditions.

In an e-mail sent to faculty and students this morning, Coleman said Pescovitz is an excellent choice to head UMHS, especially with the new opportunities the purchase of the Pfizer Inc. complex will present.

“The recent decision to purchase the former campus of Pfizer Inc. presents the University with tremendous options for growth and impact in scientific research,” Coleman wrote. “The research enterprise of our Health System is vital to this expansion, and Dr. Pescovitz is an exceptional choice for advancing our scholarship and discoveries.”

University officials announced their intention to purchase the Pfizer property, which was vacated in 2008, at the December meeting of the Board of Regents.

Speaking before the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs yesterday, Coleman stressed Pescovitz’s qualifications and praised her as a good choice for the position.

“One of the things that impressed me very much … that she was able to reach out far beyond the college of medicine,” Coleman said of Pescovitz’s time at Indiana University. “(She) comes to us with an enormous amount of experience.”

In a statement released by UMHS, Pescovitz said she is excited and honored to lead UMHS.

“It is a time of great challenges in the economy and health care, as well as a time of unprecedented opportunities in biomedical research,” she wrote in the statement. “I’m looking forward to working with the extraordinary team at one of the nation’s finest universities to meet these challenges and opportunities.”

Provost Teresa Sullivan, who headed the search committee, wrote in a statement that she felt Pescovitz was a strong choice for the job.

“Dr. Pescovitz is a talented researcher, a skilled clinician and an experienced administrator who brings vision and commitment to her work,” Sullivan wrote. “This combination of qualities will make her an effective leader at the University of Michigan.”

Kelch was also very supportive of the choice of Pescovitz.

“As a pediatric endocrinologist myself, I have admired her and been amazed by her accomplishments,” he wrote in a statement. “I am confident in her ability to lead our Health System to new heights.”

Pescovitz is married to husband Mark Pescovitz, who is an organ transplant surgeon, professor of surgery and microbiology and immunology and vice chair of research for the Department of Surgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine. The couple has three children.

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