Mary Ackenhusen steps down as CEO of VCH
June 24, 2020
VANCOUVER – After 13 years of executive leadership at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), president and CEO Mary Ackenhusen (pictured) will be stepping down on June 30th and taking on a new appointment with the B.C. Ministry of Health as senior executive in residence focused on innovation. This is an exciting new role that aligns with Mary’s long-standing commitment to transformation and innovation.
Mary has had an impact on the health sector in British Columbia for close to 20 years. Prior to joining VCH, she served on the Fraser Health Authority’s leadership team for seven years. Mary joined VCH as a chief operating officer in 2007 and was appointed president and CEO in 2013.
“Mary’s contributions at the helm of Vancouver Coastal Health has created a legacy for innovation at B.C.’s largest academic and tertiary health authority,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “She has made a significant and lasting impact on public healthcare in the province, and I thank her for her years of service. I look forward to working with her in her new role in the Ministry of Health, where she’ll undoubtedly bring her expertise to bear on some of our biggest challenges ahead.”
A graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Master of Business Administration program and West Virginia University’s Industrial Engineering program, Mary leaves a legacy of commitment to transforming the way VCH provides care across its acute and community-based health services. This focus included her leadership of the ongoing oneVCH employee engagement initiative which is committed to empowering and engaging staff and physicians across the health authority.
In 2019, Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest employee recruitment sites, named Mary as one of Canada’s top 25 CEOs based on employee reviews.
As a strong supporter of the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, she encouraged a focus on innovation and discoveries that improve patient health, transform health systems, and directly impact health and economic outcomes. Her longstanding interest in virtual care enabled health providers to continue delivering care to patients and clients across VCH during the recent weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to extend my deep gratitude to Mary for her leadership as president and CEO and for her valued contributions at VCH,” said Dr. Penny Ballem, board chair.
Meanwhile, the Board of Directors has appointed Vivian Eliopoulos as interim president and CEO. Over the next few weeks, Vivian will be working closely with Mary as part of the transition.
Vivian has a long history providing care and leadership at VCH. She is currently the vice-president of Vancouver-Richmond Acute Services and provides leadership to a diverse portfolio of secondary, tertiary and quaternary hospital and ambulatory services for patients from across the region and the rest of the province. She is also the VCH Executive Sponsor supporting Lower Mainland Diagnostic Imaging, Laboratory Services and Pharmacy Services, which provide critical patient services to both VCH and Providence Health Care. Over the last 12 weeks, since the first COVID-19 outbreak at VCH, Vivian has also been the executive lead for the VCH COVID-19 emergency operations response.
Vancouver Coastal Health is responsible for the delivery of $3.6 billion in community, hospital and long-term care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola. VCH also provides specialized care and services for people throughout B.C. and is the province’s hub of healthcare education and research.