Kettering Health names outside hire as new CEO

Michael Gentry will start in the role on July 3.

One of the largest health systems in the region and operator of 14 area medical centers named its next leader Wednesday after a five-month search.

Michael Gentry, a former health system executive in Virginia, will be the new CEO of Kettering Health, the health system announced.

Gentry is the former chief operating officer at Sentara Healthcare headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia. Sentara is the second largest private employer in Virginia with over 30,000 employees and roughly $13 billion in annual revenue, Kettering Health said. The system operates 12 hospitals, more than 300 sites of care, and a health plan with 950,000 members across Virginia and North Carolina.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to join the Kettering Health team, an organization with a long and rich tradition of blending innovative care and Christ-centered compassion to foster health, hope, and healing,” Gentry said. “I look forward to collaborating with the dedicated physicians and team members that work tirelessly to improve care for the people we serve.”

Gentry replaces Fred Manchur, who announced in November he would be leaving the role after nearly 12 years.

Manchur has since been at the center of allegations of financial misconduct, including complaints made to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has also declined to confirm whether or not an investigation into those allegations had taken place.

Kettering Health officials previously said they retained an outside firm to conduct an internal investigation and another to recommend updates to processes and policies in response to “allegations of inappropriate fiscal and operational management at Kettering Health.”

Work in the investigation was “ongoing,” an organizational statement in March said, the health system said it was “taking steps to address wrongdoing and shortcomings” they identified. Steps included “making necessary personnel changes” in order to ensure compliance with “updated and comprehensive governance practices.”

The hospital network would not comment on specific personnel issues.

The statement came in response to records obtained March 24 by the Dayton Daily News and other media outlets containing a pair of anonymous complaints filed with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office alleging “abuse of charitable funds.”

The complaints referenced Manchur and Dave Weigley, former chairman of the Kettering Health board and current president of Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists. Kettering Health is affiliated with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

The anonymous complaints accuse Manchur of expensing trips and using hospital network funds to remodel his home, and involve Weigley’s automobile expenses, among other things.

Weigley did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Multiple attempts were made to reach to Manchur for comment.

The SDA Columbia Union Conference, the administrative body of the church in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region, said in a statement it is “aware and takes seriously allegations of inappropriate fiscal and operational management at Kettering Health, a nonprofit health care organization sponsored by the Columbia Union.”

“The allegations are currently being investigated by an external firm retained by the Kettering Health Board to conduct a thorough and independent examination,” the statement says, echoing statements from the hospital.

Kettering Health has 14 medical centers and over 120 outpatient locations throughout Western Ohio, as well as Kettering Physician Network, which includes more than 700 board-certified providers.

Together, Kettering Health’s large facilities saw approximately 70,000 admission in 2021, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Gentry, who will begin at Kettering Health on July 3, served as a member and board chair for the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, collaborating with lawmakers to increase federal funding and expand Medicaid in Virginia. Gentry has twice been named a Top 25 COO in the nation by Modern Healthcare.

Before joining Sentara, he served as the president/CEO for AdventHealth’s Memorial System, located in Ormond Beach, Florida. Gentry obtained a Master of Business Administration from La Sierra University and a Bachelor of Science in business management from Southern Adventist University.

“He is a passionate advocate for finding innovative ways to prevent disease and promotes a ‘whole person’ view of health,” Kettering Health said in its press release.

“Through our in-depth search and interview process, I’ve come to learn that Michael possesses great leadership acumen, deep respect for the Kettering Health mission and team, a heart for the ministry of health care, and for the people and communities we are privileged to serve,” said Celeste R. Blyden, chair of the Kettering Health Membership and Board of Directors. “I also want to take a moment to appreciate Michael Mewhirter, our interim CEO for the past five months, the CEO search committee for their thorough approach to this important process, and every team member for their exemplary commitment to caring for our patients and serving our communities.”

Kettering Health declined to comment at this time about what Mewhirter’s role in the company will be and if he will return to his previous role as the health system’s CFO.

Mewhirter has been Kettering Health’s interim CEO since November.

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