Gary Miller begins his time as president and chief executive officer of St. Alexius Medical Center confident in the future of the organization.
"We think we are well positioned. We have done well financially - of course I know that from being the chief financial officer," he said Wednesday to light laughter from the small crowd gathered at Boniface Auditorium to hear that Miller had been promoted from CFO to CEO.
The Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery and the St. Alexius Medical Center Board of Directors named Miller during a noon news conference on Wednesday. He has been interim president since Jan. 24, 2011, when former president and CEO Andy Wilson resigned.
Sister Nancy Miller, prioress of Annunciation Monastery and president of the hospital's board of directors, said strong leadership is as imperative today as it was when the sisters of Annunciation Monastery started St. Alexius in 1885.
"There are challenges today in the way we deliver healthcare," she said.
The hospital board has observed Gary Miller's leadership while serving as interim president the past four months and in his positions at St. Alexius since 1984, Nancy Miller said. She said he's a "dynamic leader" who upholds the Catholic and Benedictine heritage of the hospital.
Gary Miller said his first day at St. Alexius was June 4, 1984, when he became director of fiscal and information systems. He has been chief financial officer since 1988, and he most recently has served as senior vice president.
Gary Miller said Wednesday was a "humbling and exciting day." He said he plans to be the "chief engagement officer," keeping staff engaged on healing.
"St. Alexius Medical Center is a very special place, a very special place of healing," he said.
He identified three challenges as the biggest issues facing St. Alexius. Being prepared for healthcare reform initiatives topped the list, followed by working with the state Legislature to understand Medicaid reimbursement rates. His third challenge will be making sure staff and physicians stay "engaged in our healing mission," he said.
Gary Miller has bachelor's degrees in political science and accounting from Moorhead State University. He also has a certified public accountant certificate. He said he got into accounting partly to change the stereotype of accountants; while he can handle the administrative "bean counter" side of business, he said he also likes working with people.
"I like people," he said. "I like to be engaged with people."
(Reach reporter Jenny Michael at 250-8225 or email@example.com.)