Dr. Benjamin Chu is stepping down as president and CEO of the Memorial Hermann Health System, just one year after assuming the top job at Houston’s biggest hospital network.
The resignation is effective immediately.
“After much discussion with the system board, I have made the difficult decision to leave the organization to pursue my passion in health and public policy,” wrote Chu in an email to Memorial Hermann employees and physicians Monday morning. “As a physician and longtime public policy advocate, I look forward to continuing my mission to enhance access to high-quality care and improve the overall health of our population.”
Neither Memorial Hermann nor Chu gave a specific job for which he is leaving.
Memorial Hermann Health System Board Chair Deborah M. Cannon said in a statement that Chu plans to “continue his mission to enhance access to high-quality care and improve the overall health of our population.” She added that “with the current state of the healthcare industry, I can think of no better time for a champion like Dr. Chu to help lead public policy efforts.”
Charles Stokes, Memorial Hermann’s chief operating officer, has been named interim president and CEO of Memorial Hermann, in addition to his current role.
The hiring of Chu, No. 26 on Modern Healthcare’s 50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders, was considered a coup at the time. The successor to Dan Woltermann, who retired after 14 years on the job, Chu came from Kaiser Permanent, a California nonprofit insurance plan that manages the health of its patients with its own network of hospitals and clinics.