2011 News

Beth Israel chief Paul Levy resigns

01.07.2011

Posted by Martin Finucane January 7, 2011 11:05 AM

By Liz Kowalczyk, Globe Staff

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Paul Levy, the chief executive of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center whose achievements at the hospital were clouded by criticism last year of his relationship with a female employee, has announced that he is resigning.

In an email to the hospital community, he said he had reached the conclusion to leave after recently turning 60 and after returning this month from a mountain bike trip to Africa, where he had "plenty of time in a less cluttered environment to think this through."

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Levy said he needed "some new challenges," and made only a general reference to the controversy that surrounded him this year, when he was fined by the board of trustees for mistakes in judgment regarding the long-time employment of a woman who Levy has called a close personal friend.

"Over the last nine years, I have certainly made mistakes of degree, emphasis, and judgment," Levy said in his email. "I have apologized to you directly for some of those, but I do so again, in the hope that such errors will not overshadow the many accomplishments and contributions of our hospital to the community and the health care industry. On the personal level, if I have slighted any one of you in any way or given you any cause for concern about my warm regard and respect for you, I doubly apologize."

In an interview from his office at the hospital this morning, Levy said his resignation was unrelated to the controversy last year. "That was over. That was almost a year ago. The board had given me a vote of confidence."

Instead, Levy said his decision was related to his turning 60 and the hospital's financial success.

Levy said he enjoys leading an organization most when it's struggling and is in need of a turnaround -- which was the situation when he was hired as chief executive of the hospital nine years ago.

"Once that's in place, I lose my enthusiasm for the maintenance of things," he said. "Here, that job is done. We had our best year ever last year."

Because the hospital is very profitable and because more patients are seeking care there, Levy said he believes his friendship with the female employee, who no longer works at Beth Israel Deaconess, and the subsequent investigations did not end up hurting the organization.

He said he will stay "a few weeks to a month" and that the hospital's chief operating officer will temporarily run Beth Israel Deaconess while the board searches for a permanent replacement.

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