Mercy Health Announces Retirement of President and CEO Michael Connelly

Mercy Health – a Catholic healthcare ministry serving Ohio and Kentucky – today announced the retirement of President and CEO Michael Connelly, effective January 31, 2017.

Connelly has led Mercy Health since 1995. During that time, the organization has evolved from seven autonomous regional healthcare providers to a unified health system with assets of $6.1 billion and a singular mission of improving the health of the communities it serves. Nationally recognized as a leader in quality and efficiency, Mercy Health is the largest health system in Ohio and one of the largest health systems in the United States, employing more than 34,000 people. Under Connelly's leadership, Mercy Health has emerged as a leader in healthcare transformation while more than doubling its community benefit investments. 

“Michael has served as a visionary leader in a time of extraordinary change in healthcare. Leading with integrity and compassion, he has shepherded Mercy Health’s development into a mission-focused organization that is recognized not only for its superior care and service, but its commitment to serving others, especially the poor and vulnerable,” said Katherine W. Vestal, PhD, RN, chair of Mercy Health’s Board of Trustees. “We are deeply grateful for his unwavering dedication and faithful stewardship, which have positioned the ministry for continued success in the years ahead.”

Following a multi-year succession planning effort, the Mercy Health Board of Trustees has named John Starcher as Connelly’s successor, appointing him president and CEO-elect. A seasoned healthcare veteran, Starcher currently serves as Mercy Health’s executive vice president of operations in its southern markets and president and CEO of the Cincinnati Region, which includes five hospitals and more than 180 network locations. Starcher returned to Mercy Health in January 2015 after serving as president and CEO of Naples, Florida-based Health Management Associates (HMA). Prior to joining HMA, he was CEO for three of four divisions within Mercy Health and also served as the organization’s senior vice president of Human Resources and assistant general counsel during his 13 year-tenure.