Top UPMC official leaving to head University of Colorado Health System

It was the chance to head a health system that is separate but still closely aligned to a major academic center — much like UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh — that drew UPMC executive Elizabeth “Liz” Concordia to accept the president and CEO position at the University of Colorado Health System.

“It was just an opportunity that was too good to pass,” said Ms. Concordia, 50, following Tuesday’s announcement, noting that Colorado is a growing area.

On a personal level, too, the timing was good as her children will be out of high school when she takes her new position in September.

As head of UPMC’s hospital and community services division, Ms. Concordia was one of four executive vice presidents for the Pittsburgh health system giant, overseeing operations at the 20 hospitals in the division that generate $7.4 billion in operating revenue. The University of Colorado Health System is comprised of five hospitals and has reported $2.4 billion in operating revenue.

Over the years, Ms. Concordia's name had often been mentioned as a likely successor to UPMC president and CEO Jeffrey Romoff.

In a phone interview Tuesday, she spoke highly of Mr. Romoff and said, “I’m extremely proud of what we’ve built.”

Mr. Romoff, meanwhile, said Ms. Concordia was “a valuable member of UPMC’s executive management team since joining our organization in 2001 and a critical component in the continual transformation of UPMC,” noting the Pittsburgh health system's top 10 ranking by the U.S. News and World Report.

“I will miss Liz both professionally and personally, as will Mr. Nick Beckwith, chairman of the UPMC board, and her colleagues at UPMC,” he said in an official statement.

Ms. Concordia’s selection to head the Aurora, Colo.-based health system came after an eight-month search for a successor to former president Rulon Stacey and chief executive Bruce Schroffel.

“I believe the physicians within UCHealth and the CU School of Medicine will be very excited to work with Liz,” said Rich Schulick, chair of surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in a release. “She has a track record of integrating large groups of physicians and their staffs across a complex health system with a focus on quality and safety.”

There was no immediate word of a likely replacement for Ms. Concordia, although a search has begun, said UPMC spokesman Paul Wood.

As for UPMC’s top job, Mr. Wood said, UPMC’s board has been “very active with succession planning at all levels of the organization” but there has never been a formally designated successor to Mr. Romoff, 68.

“He’s the leader for the foreseeable future.”

Bill Toland: or 412-263-2625. First Published April 29, 2014 12:08 PM

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