It is with regret that I announce John King’s decision to retire from St. Michael’s Hospital effective November 2, 2012. After thoughtful reflection, John has decided it is time to focus on his family life, travel and his volunteer commitments.
 
For those of us who have worked closely with John during his 10 years at St. Michael’s, it is a bittersweet time. We honour and understand his decision to change directions at this point in his life; but we will miss a great colleague and friend.
 
When I think of John’s time at St. Michael’s, two things stand out for me: his fierce loyalty to the hospital, its values and his team; and his genuine interest in and passion for people – the leaders of the hospital, staff, physicians and individuals, all of whom he connected with and showed a genuine interest in their lives.
 
John leaves a huge legacy at St. Michael’s. The achievements that come immediately to mind are:
  • The enormous steps we have made during his watch in improving our physical plant including acting as the executive lead in the development and completion of the beautiful Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and successfully driving the Queen-Victoria redevelopment project through the government approval process.
  • Guiding our people strategy that has resulted in a robust human resources plan and the implementation of LEADS, Leaders for Life program.
  • Championing the need for robust information technology that has moved us from far behind the hospital norm to the leading edge. Today we are at HIMSS Level 6, a place we didn’t even imagine in 2002.
  • Beyond our walls, John is known as a mentor to many health leaders right across the country, the leader of TAHSN pandemic planning, the guide for the famous “King tours” of Swedish hospitals and other locations, and most recently, as Chair of the Canadian College of Health Leaders.
  • Being a well-deserved recipient of the Spirit of Philanthropy Award in 2009 for his fundraising efforts, particularly for the annual golf tournament.
  • And finally, his efforts to balance our budget in every single year that he was here!
 
John leaves an equally rich legacy in other organizations for which he worked – the provincial government where he was Assistant Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care and Alberta’s health care system where he served as an executive with Calgary Health Region to name only two.
 
It will be difficult to replace John but nevertheless, we will begin a full internal and external search for his replacement.
 
Over the next few months, we will celebrate John’s contributions to St. Michael’s Hospital. I know that you will join me in wishing him well and thanking him for his commitment to St. Michael’s.
 
Bob Howard. CEO