Education

University of Iowa launches search for new Children's Hospital director

Process begins nearly two years after former head left

The University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital is seen from Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Friday, Apr. 21, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
The University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital is seen from Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Friday, Apr. 21, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Nearly two years after the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital executive director left for another job — just as the new 14-story, $392 million facility he was leading was coming online following a yearslong construction process plagued by cost overruns, design changes, and delays — the administration has initiated a search for a permanent replacement.

As part of the UI Health Care effort to replace Scott Turner as executive director of its UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, it has formed a 15-person search committee and hired executive search firm WittKieffer to guide the process.

The university on Thursday did not provide The Gazette with a copy of its contract with WittKieffer. It also did not say how much it’s paying the firm to help replace Turner, who in November 2017 announced he was leaving to become chief operating officer for the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and executive vice president for the Children’s Hospital and Health System.

Ian Law, division director of pediatric cardiology at the UI Children’s Hospital, is chairing the search committee charged with finding Turner’s replacement.

Also serving on the committee is Suresh Gunasekaran, UI Hospitals and Clinics CEO; Michael Tansey, associate vice chair for faculty development and chief diversity officer for the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics; and Amy O’Deen, who has been serving as interim executive director of the Children’s Hospital since Turner left.

O’Deen, who officially began serving in the interim role in December 2017, will continue in that capacity until a permanent executive director is hired. She also has maintained her responsibilities as senior assistant director of UIHC, making an annual salary of $207,810.

Turner, when he left, was earning $437,750 a year — more than double O’Deen. Turner’s gross pay for the 2017 budget year was actually $466,425, according to the state’s database. That was more than $86,000 above his base pay of $379,666 in fiscal 2016.

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When asked why Turner made so much more than O’Deen, UIHC officials said Turner “held multiple roles,” including executive director of capital management, chief operating officer of UIHC, and Children’s Hospital executive director.

The Children’s Hospital executive director is responsible for overall operational management, strategic planning, and financial leadership — working collaboratively with the Children’s Hospital physician-in-chief and surgeon-in-chief.

The search committee hasn’t drafted any projected timeline for the search, and it’s working with WittKieffer in crafting the position description — as it’s not yet been posted.

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