Henry Ford CEO, president Lassiter leaving health system

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Henry Ford Health System president and CEO Wright Lassiter III is leaving the $6.6 billion health system in July, hospital officials announced Thursday.

Lassiter 's new role will be as CEO at the Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health, a nonprofit health system, according to a statement on the company's website.

Lassiter informed Henry Ford Health's board of directors and senior leadership team and then shared the news with Henry Ford's 33,000 members in a personal note Thursday morning.

"It has truly been one of the great honors of my life to lead the incredibly relentless, resilient, innovative, diverse and compassionate team that is Henry Ford Health," Lassiter said in the note. "It has been said that when you need heroism at scale, when you are faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge, when others say 'no,' you come to Henry Ford. I found this to be true – every day."

Henry Ford Health ranked third among Michigan hospital systems with net patient revenue in 2020 of $3.445 billion, putting it behind the University of Michigan system and Beaumont Health, said Allan Baumgarten, a Minneapolis-based analyst who follows the Michigan health industry.

Lassiter joined Henry Ford Health, the health system started by Ford Motor Co. founder Henry Ford, in December 2014. Under his tenture, Henry Ford Health completed two mergers and expanded globally with the 2020 opening of partner hospitals in Saudi Arabia and India, officials said.

The system's board, led by chair David Breen, will conduct a national search for Lassiter's successor. Bob Riney, president and COO, will lead the company during the transition period and work with Breen and the board throughout the CEO search process, hospital officials said.

"Wright is a visionary, innovative and courageous leader," Breen said. "His contributions have well positioned Henry Ford Health for the future of serving our communities."

Lassiter was named a "Michiganian of the Year" in 2020 by The Detroit News.

He served as CEO of Alameda Health System in Oakland, California, before joining Henry Ford in 2014. He was named president and CEO in 2016. 

Henry Ford Health has more than 250 locations throughout Michigan, including five acute care hospitals, two destination facilities for complex cancer and orthopedics and sports medicine care, three behavioral health facilities, primary care and urgent care centers.

Lassiter's departure comes during a pivotal moment for Metro Detroit hospital systems. 

In February, Beaumont Health and west Michigan's Spectrum Health combined as the BHSH System with 22 hospitals, 305 outpatient locations and 64,000 employees, according to the health systems.