The unexpected resignation of its Arizona CEO means all three of Mayo Clinic’s top positions are changing at the same time.

Dr. Wyatt Decker is resigning from his role as CEO of Mayo’s Scottsdale, Ariz., campus. He has served as the top leader there since 2011.

An article in the Phoenix Business Journal by Angela Gonzales broke the news this morning.

Decker is taking a new executive job at Optum, which is an offshoot of Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group Inc.

Decker will leave on Jan. 2. Dr. Lois Krahn will then serve as the interim leader of the Arizona campus in partnership with Paula Menkosky, the chief administrative officer in Arizona.

Mayo Clinic officials say they will conduct an internal search to find the next CEO for the Arizona campus.

“His distinguished career included physician leader roles at three of Mayo Clinic’s destination medical centers but was defined by his commitment to patients and Mayo Clinic’s values, and his drive to improve the delivery of care through technology and innovation,” Dr. John Noseworthy said in written comments on Decker’s change.

An emergency medical physician as well as Mayo Clinic trustee, Decker has a long history with the clinic. He studied at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, where he got his M.D. in 1990. He served a residency in Rochester in the early 1990s. Decker also has a master of business administration degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

This change comes as Mayo Clinic’s top leader Dr. Noseworthy is retiring. He is being replaced by Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, who is leaving his job as CEO of Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus.

Decker had also been named as a possible candidate to replace Dr. Noseworthy as Mayo Clinic’s top CEO based in Rochester.

In 2017, he was second-highest paid Mayo Clinic employee following Noseworthy. Decker earned a base salary of $1.71 million, with $77,031 in other compensation for a total of $1.78 million. That was up from $1.36 million in 2016.

Noseworthy made $3.16 million in 2017. Farrugia was the seventh-highest paid employee that year taking in $1.36 million.

“We have made a bold commitment to growth in Arizona, and that commitment to the Southwest is steadfast,” Noseworthy said. During Dr. Decker’s tenure as CEO, we have matured and expanded clinical services, recruited world-class physicians and scientists, and are well-positioned for continued leadership in serious and complex care.”

While Mayo Clinic is respected as a top-ranked health system, UnitedHealth Group’s revenues mark it as the largest health care organization in the world.

It is projecting revenues of between $243 billion to $245 billion for 2019. That’s up from the estimated $226 billion UnitedHealth expected for 2018.

UnitedHealth is expanding its Optum business, which Decker is joining. Optum owns the OptumRx pharmacy benefit management company as well as many medical groups.

“As a progressive health care leader, Dr. Decker’s commitment to advancing technology and innovation to make health care better for people will help us improve experiences and outcomes for everyone we serve,” Optum CEO Andrew Witty said in an announcement this morning.

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Business Reporter

Jeff has worked at newspapers as a reporter, columnist, editor, photographer and copy editor since 1992. He started at the Post Bulletin in 1999. Kiger is the PB's business reporter and writes a daily column, "Heard on the Street."

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