#1 Robert C. Garrett Hackensack University Health Network, CEO and president
Perhaps it’s fitting that Garrett, the person who sits atop the NJBIZ Power 50 Health Care rankings in 2015, has been playing a game of “Can You Top This?” in recent months as the head of Hackensack University Health Network.
There was the announced merger with Meridian Health, which will help push the Hackensack system — already the second-biggest in the state — to well over $3 billion in revenue. Then there was the news of the Hackensack-Seton Hall medical school and science research center, which will bring the first private medical school to the state, likely attracting more top docs from across the river, while producing the next generation of physicians (there will be a strong emphasis on much-needed primary care doctors). “The medical school will help a number of hospitals, as it will provide residents and help produce higher-quality residents,” said a grateful rival. Some feel the research science center that goes with it has the potential to compete with any in the country, all while giving Essex and Passaic counties an economic boom at a prime location (the old Roche site) — a place many felt would never be filled in such a grand way.
For all of Hackensack’s business moves, its ability to provide care is noteworthy, too. Hackensack’s flagship hospital was one of three in the state selected to be an Ebola care center (it’s next in line when or if another patient is diagnosed). And its main hospital is by far the most honored in the state, with 10 specialties earning a national ranking by U.S. News & World Report, while the hospital itself was No. 1 overall in the state and No. 4 overall in the metro area. Garrett’s vision for the future of health care was praised by many. “He is progressive in his partnerships,” said one rival. “He is out in front on where this is all going. He gets it.”
What’s next? Apparently, plenty. More strategic partnerships are said to be on the horizon. “There will be more major announcements coming this year,” one insider said. And while Garrett is moving quickly, one thing is clear: the 57-year-old CEO and president is not going anywhere.
“Bob’s not planning on retiring anytime soon,” one booster said. “He’s got a lot of energy, a lot of experience. He’s very well-liked by all of his employees, and Bob’s a smart guy; he’s definitely going to be around for a while.”
Robert C. Garrett
Hackensack University Health Network
Last Year's Rank: 7