Joseph Stratton will be the next River’s Edge CEO, pending contract approvals.

After interviews with five finalist candidates Nov. 21, the Hospital Commission and St. Peter City Council agreed to hire Stratton, who most recently served as CEO at Geary Community Hospital in Junction City, Kansas from 2013 to September 2019. According to a River’s Edge description, Stratton developed several strategic partnerships in the Junction City area to enhance pediatric services, organize educational opportunities for students at the University of Kansas Medical School and Manhattan Area Technical School, and developed new service lines. Stratton led a team of approximately 300 employees at Geary to “improve patient experience, employee engagement, community relations and strategic planning.”

Stratton is set to replace departing CEO George Rohrich, who started in 2013 and is now heading to the Pacific Northwest. Stratton is expected to start in March, with a target date of March 2. Rohrich is leaving in December, and Chief Financial Officer Lori Zook is the interim CEO.

A contract agreed by Stratton and the Hospital Commission includes a $250,000 salary, with a minimum increase of $5,000 in the second year. It’s a two-year contract and also requires Stratton to live within 15 minutes of the hospital. The St. Peter City Council will be asked to approve the hire at its Dec. 9 meeting.

The Hospital Commission was looking for someone with previous CEO experience to replace Rohrich, and Stratton provided that.

“I think he came with really outstanding credentials,” Commission Chair Margie Nelsen said. “Not only many years as a CEO but also in critical access, which is very important to us.”

Stratton stood above candidates, who also had CEO experience, for a number of reasons, but an important factor was how he would fit into a well developed culture within the hospital

“I think the most critical thing was that the commission, executive leadership and all staff felt very positively about his personality and his fit in our culture and that he can sustain our culture in a really positive way,” Nelsen said. “He seemed warm, approachable; he had a sense of humor.”

Reach Editor Philip Weyhe at 507-931-8567 or follow him on Twitter @EditorPhilipWeyhe. ©Copyright 2019 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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