Lofton to retire as one of CommonSpirit's chief executives

February 1, 2020



Kevin E. Lofton is retiring as chief executive of CommonSpirit Health, the Chicago-based health system created last year from the merger of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health. His retirement will be effective June 30, the health care system announced Jan. 22.

Lofton, 65, and Lloyd Dean both are chief executives of CommonSpirit. Dean will continue as CommonSpirit's sole chief executive after Lofton's retirement. In its announcement, CommonSpirit said the two-chief executive structure was created to successfully integrate CHI and Dignity Health and was never intended to be permanent.

Lofton had been chief executive of CHI before the Feb. 1, 2019, merger created CommonSpirit, a 142-hospital system with $29 billion in revenues. It is the largest nonprofit health system in the country based on revenue.

At CommonSpirit, Lofton has been responsible for advocacy, compliance, digital, information technology, international business, legal, philanthropy, mission, sponsorship and governance, and system partnerships.

Dean, the former president and chief executive of Dignity Health, said in the statement announcing Lofton's retirement, "It has been an honor to share the creation of CommonSpirit Health with Kevin and there is no question that all of us have appreciated the gifts that he brought forward. I will forever cherish the opportunity to have been a part of this journey with him."

Lofton assumed the chief executive post at CHI in 2003. When he leaves CommonSpirit, he will have logged 17 years as an executive within CHI or the combined systems and 42 years total as a health care leader. He started his career in health care as an emergency department administrator in Jacksonville, Florida, and eventually became the hospital's chief operating officer. Prior to joining CHI, he was chief executive of two university hospitals.

He is a past member of CHA's board of trustees as well as its Leadership Task Force. He served on several CHA board committees, including the committee on diversity and health disparities. CommonSpirit noted in its release that Lofton has had "broad impact across the health care landscape, increasing the number and influence of minority health care executives and physicians, eliminating disparities of care and improving the overall health of people and communities."

Part of that work was as chairman of the board of trustees of the American Hospital Association. He also was founding chairman of the association's Equity of Care Initiative, which was formed in 2008 to help address disparities in care for ethnic and racial minorities.

Lofton has served on several other health system, medical school, bioscience, retail, professional association, civil rights and community-based boards. He will continue on the boards of Gilead Sciences, Rite Aid and the Georgia State University Foundation.

Lofton was named to Modern Healthcare's "100 Most Influential People in Healthcare" list 15 times.

"Kevin Lofton is an exceptional leader and one of the most influential in health care," Tessie Guillermo, chair of the CommonSpirit board, said in the press statement from the health system. Guillermo said Lofton will be given the honorary title of chief executive emeritus of CommonSpirit "in recognition of his many significant accomplishments and lasting imprint on our organization and the health care industry."

She added that the board is confident that under Dean's leadership "we will be well-positioned to transform how we deliver care across the 21 states we serve."

Copyright © 2020 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.