NORTHAMPTON — Matthew Pitoniak, chair of the board of trustees of Cooley Dickinson Hospital, announced on July 29 that, after 25 years of exemplary leadership, Craig Melin will resign as president and CEO. The move will be effective Jan. 31, 2014.
Pitoniak said the board is pleased that Melin will stay on for six months to complete initiatives under way that are critical to the transformation of Cooley Dickinson in the face of environmental changes in health care, as well as its recently finalized affiliation with Massachusetts General Hospital.
Melin said he chose this time to plan his leave because he believes that Cooley Dickinson faces a five-year transition and that it should be under one leader. As he was not prepared to commit to a 30th anniversary, he told the board and Mass General that he wished to “step down to clear the way for someone who can make the new commitment Cooley Dickinson needs.”
Pitoniak said Melin’s decision was unexpected.
Dr. Peter Slavin, president of Mass General, said, “I was very surprised to hear about Craig’s decision to leave Cooley Dickinson, to which he has been so passionately committed for 25 years. While I’m not happy about losing him from our team, I am pleased that Craig has agreed to stay on while we search for a new CEO. Our work to realize the benefits of the new relationship between Cooley Dickinson and Mass General will continue uninterrupted. I look forward to working with Craig over the next six months.”
Besides the recently completed affiliation with Mass General, CDH and Melin have been deeply engaged in strategic initiatives, such as preparing for population health management, repositioning the organization to meet the budget challenges of the new lower-priced payment system, and improving the organization’s already-intense focus on quality.
Melin said, “It has been an honor to lead Cooley Dickinson for the past 25 years. I look forward to working with the trustees, physicians, staff, and Mass General so that Cooley Dickinson continues on the path toward more exceptional care and better health for our community.”
Added Pitoniak, “I have been involved as a trustee of Cooley Dickinson for approximately 20 of the 25 years Craig has been our leader. During that time, under Craig’s leadership, we have become one of the most financially stable community hospitals in the state and probably beyond, and achieved quality recognitions ranging from CDH having the best Leapfrog quality and value rating in the state and our home health and hospice being a Home Care Elite agency, to name just two.”
Pitoniak said he will form and then chair a committee that will conduct a national search for Melin’s successor. Slavin will be actively involved.