Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove stepping down

Despite recent controversies, the executive oversaw major growth at the marquee health system.
By Jeff Lagasse
12:04 PM
Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove stepping down

After nearly 13 years as president and CEO of Cleveland Clinic, Toby Cosgrove, MD, said he will step aside, initiating a succession process that will allow him to transition out the role later this year. At the request of the health system’s governance committee, he will continue to serve in an advisory role.

Cosgrove’s tenure has been marked by some recent controversy. He was considered a potential pick by President Donald Trump to run the Department of Veterans Affairs, declining the job but agreeing to serve in an advisory role to Trump.

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In January, the system’s website published an anti-vaccine column that was met with backlash among vaccine proponents. A few weeks later, according to STAT, Cosgrove refused to cancel a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida retreat, despite one of the system’s residents, a Sudanese citizen, being briefly denied entry into the country due to the president’s executive order on immigration. 

But, under his leadership, Cleveland Clinic has grown into an $8 billion health system with multiple locations in Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Canada, Abu Dhabi and, in 2020, London. And over Cosgrove’s tenure, Cleveland Clinic’s revenues have grown from $3.7 billion in 2004 to $8.5 billion in 2016. It has become Ohio’s largest employer with more than 50,000 caregivers. Last year, U.S. News and World Report ranked it no. 2 in the nation in terms of clinical outcomes, patient experience and wellness.

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Cleveland Clinic said it has a “deep, talented pool of physician-leaders” who are ready to take on executive roles.

Cosgrove’s successor will be jointly selected by the board of directors and board of governors, and that process is expected to conclude later this year. The new president and CEO is expected to be a practicing physician.

Before becoming CEO in 2004, Cosgrove was a cardiac surgeon for nearly 30 years, performing 22,000 operations. He also acted as a consultant for the Obama administration, serving on the Veterans Administration Commission on Care in 2015.

Twitter: @JELagasse