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Dr. Anne Klibanski Is First Woman To Lead Partners HealthCare

Dr. Anne Klibanski is the new chief of Partners HealthCare, the largest private employer in the state. (Courtesy of Partners)
Dr. Anne Klibanski is the new chief of Partners HealthCare, the largest private employer in the state. (Courtesy of Partners)

Dr. Anne Klibanski has been the interim chief of Partners HealthCare, the state's largest hospital network and largest private employer, since its previous leader announced he was stepping down earlier this year.

Now, she's official: Partners says she's its new chief executive, and the first woman to hold the post.

“Partners HealthCare is a great organization, but I believe we can be even better,” Klibanski says in a press release. “In recent months, members from hospital boards across the system have started to work together in a way we have not seen before at Partners. I am honored to have the opportunity to realize the full potential we have to transform health care and make it better for patients and families everywhere.”

Klibanski, a longtime supporter of other women in academic medicine, joins a growing group of women in leadership at the highest levels of Boston health care. They include Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, who leads Partners-owned Brigham and Women's Hospital; Sandra Fenwick, CEO of Boston Children's Hospital; and Kate Walsh, president and CEO of Boston Medical Center.

But with its 75,000 employees and network of prestigious hospitals, the pinnacle of Partners is the most powerful health care post in this medical town.

The board that oversees Partners was tasked with searching for a new leader, but in recent months, "it has become increasingly clear to each member of the board that Anne is the ideal leader for Partners as we move forward together as a truly integrated system,” Scott Sperling, the chair of the Partners Board of Directors, says in the press release.

“Anne has done an outstanding job of managing this large and complex system as we continuously work to provide care of exceptional quality at the lowest possible cost," he says. "It became obvious to us that any search was going to lead us right back to Anne.”

Sperling also cites Klibanski's "extraordinary experience and leadership in research and teaching," and her "commitment to serving the unmet need of our local communities."

Klibanski had been the chief academic officer at Partners since 2012, overseeing a research budget of $1.8 billion. She had also been the neuroendocrine chief at Massachusetts General Hospital and "recognized internationally for her high impact research in neuroendocrine disorders and pituitary tumors," according to Partners.

She's also a member of the MGH General Executive Committee, the board of Albireo Pharmaceuticals, the scientific advisory board of Crinetics Pharmaceuticals and the board of Partners International, Partners says.

Her predecessor, Dr. David Torchiana, unexpectedly announced in late January that he would retire. At the time, WBUR sources pointed to tensions with the board and hospital leaders that had been building for months, centering largely around how to shape the Partners hospital network. Torchiana became CEO in 2015.

Earlier Coverage:

Carey Goldberg Twitter Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.

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