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Nicole Everest says track record, education experience, government contacts set Dominic Giroux apart in CEO search
Dominic Giroux will officially begin his tenure as the CEO of Health Sciences North on Oct. 2 after being unanimously selected by the HSN board of directors.
Sudbury.com spoke both with him and with HSN board chair Nicole Everest this afternoon. Everest said the search to replace outgoing CEO Dr. Denis Roy was an extensive one, and despite Giroux’s background falling in the education sector rather than health care, he checked all the boxes for the search committee.
“A search committee was formed with representation of both medical physicians, as well as members of the patient advisory committee. It was a robust process that we went through in terms of defining the attributes that we were looking for in a CEO to replace Dr. Roy,” said Everest.
“These included a successful track record of defining a strategy, executing, setting very good objectives and targets and achieving the desired results. We were also searching for a deep understanding of teaching and research missions, which we know Dominic brings to the table.”
Everest said there was a large group of applicants that both the HSN and HSN Research Institute boards had to consider with a wide variety of candidates, both internal and external.
“When we looked at all of the candidates, Dominic was far superior and our chosen candidate,” said Everest.
Giroux is the longest-serving president of Laurentian University, having held the position since April 2009.
With him at the helm, five new buildings were constructed and major renovations were undertaken, totaling $206 million. The school also managed to secure $80 million in private gifts and $64 million in government infrastructure investments.
That being said, Giroux has no working background in the health care sector, and doesn’t shy away from that fact.
“I’m not going to pretend to be an expert in health care,” said Giroux. “I’ve learned a lot about safe, quality, patient-centred care, but Health Sciences North is about more than patient care. It’s about teaching and research, and these are two of the pillars of Health Sciences North that I’m very familiar with.”
An understanding of teaching and research were two factors that came into the decision-making process for the HSN board, but Giroux’s influence at Queen’s Park and past successes with Laurentian also weighed heavily in the decision.
“We were looking for community engagement and partnership building with our key stakeholders and we know Dominic has those skills,” said Everest. “We know he has a deep understanding of Queen’s Park and having all the great community contacts and government contacts and so on.
“All of these key leadership skills, Dominic exhibits and it transcends from one sector to the next.”
Giroux’s move parallels that of Hamilton Health Sciences president and CEO, Rob MacIsaac, Everest argued. An economics major and former president of Mohawk College, MacIsaac made the move from the education sector to health care in February 2014.
This isn’t uncommon among CAHO (Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario) as 11 of 23 leaders of CAHO hospitals are non-physicians, and Giroux will become the 12th, meaning more than half of the leaders of academic hospitals in Ontario are not from a health care background, Everest added.
“When we think about Rob MacIsaac at Hamilton Health Sciences Centre, he’s almost identical to Dominic’s background,” said Everest. “We can give many examples of non-physician leaders and what it comes back to is key leadership skills that transcend either sector and Dominic, by far, has the superior skills and abilities and we’re convinced as a board that he can bring us to the next level in terms of our strategic plan.”
Grioux is committed to Laurentian until Aug. 18, and will be leaving ahead of the school implementing their 2018-2023 strategic plan.
“I feel good about the work that we’ve accomplished at Laurentian over the last eight years and I don’t think the work of a university president is ever completed,” said Giroux.
“There are many exciting initiatives that will materialize over the next two to three years (at Laurentian) and this was a very difficult decision to make because I love the university and the people and what it stands for, but in my view they’re well-positioned for long-term success.”