- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The head of Dakotas-based Sanford Health says he plans to retire in seven years but that he has one big promise to fill first.

President and CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft, who turned 58 years old on Monday, told the Argus Leader newspaper (http://argusne.ws/1Ync0qL ) that he plans to step down when he turns 65.

“In merger transactions, I’ve been on the other side of the table from guys approaching an age beyond 70 and I see what happens,” he said. “I have an obligation to get my affairs in order so that I (retire) before people start saying, ‘When is he going to get out of here?’”

Krabbenhoft said he wants to make good on his promise to philanthropist and health system namesake T. Denny Sanford - who has given nearly $1 billion to the health system - that Sanford Health would find a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

“I made a promise to Denny that we would find a cure before he dies,” Krabbenhoft said. Sanford turns 80 next week.

Sanford Health was formed in 2009 when Sanford, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, merged with Meritcare in Fargo, North Dakota. It bills itself as one of the largest health systems in the nation, with hundreds of hospitals and clinics in nine states and three countries and 27,000 employees. It’s the largest employer in the Dakotas.

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Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com

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