KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Frank J. Sardone, president and CEO of the Bronson Healthcare system headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan, has announced that he is planning to retire at the end of the year. Sardone, who turns 62 in October, has been in administration at Bronson since 1988 and has served in the senior executive role since 1996 when he succeeded Patric E. Ludwig. The Bronson Board of Directors was notified last year of Sardone’s intention to retire in 2019, and they have engaged the recruitment firm, Gallagher MSA Search, to conduct a nationwide CEO search.
Bronson Board Chair Donald R. Parfet says, “Frank has been an exceptional leader to this organization, a great partner and collaborator in the region and, throughout his career at Bronson, he has always put the needs of patients and families at the forefront of decision-making. His visionary leadership has guided Bronson to become a nationally recognized leader in quality, patient care, facility design, and service excellence, as well as the largest employer and leading healthcare system in the region. While we are reluctant to see him go, his retirement is well-deserved, and the board is certain the caliber of the providers, staff and organization he has built will attract a top notch candidate to carry his legacy forward.”
Sardone said in a retirement message to staff, “Like others who reach this stage in life, I share the news with mixed emotions. It has been my honor to serve as president and CEO of such an exceptional healthcare system and I am filled with gratitude and pride in all that we have accomplished together over the years. My wife, Susan, and I intend to remain in the area and you can be sure that we will continue to be Bronson’s biggest cheerleaders. ”
Over the course of his nearly 32-year career, Sardone has led the community-governed, nonprofit organization from its roots as one hospital with a collection of outpatient clinics in Kalamazoo to the region’s leading healthcare system with over 9,200 employees, more than 1,400 medical staff members, four hospitals and a full range of services from primary care to critical care across 90 locations. Today, key member organizations include: Bronson Methodist Hospital, Bronson Battle Creek Hospital, Bronson LakeView Hospital, Bronson South Haven Hospital, Bronson Medical Group, Bronson at Home, Bronson Commons, Bronson Athletic Club, Bronson Wellness Center and the Bronson Health Foundation.
Sardone’s passion for quality and mantra to ‘raise the bar’ along with his collaborative leadership style, led Bronson to many extraordinary achievements during his tenure as president and CEO. Among them: the building of The New Bronson in Kalamazoo in 2000 which pioneered the U.S. hospital standard for all-private rooms; Bronson Methodist Hospital’s attainment of the 2005 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award – the country’s highest presidential honor for organizational excellence; in 2009, the American Hospital Association McKesson Quest for Quality Prize and Magnet Status for Nursing Excellence; and, in 2017, the American College of Healthcare Architects highest honor, The Legacy Project Award for superior planning and excellence in facility design that remains of enduring significance today and serves as a role model to others. Bronson was also recognized numerous times as a ‘100 Best’ place to work by both Fortune and Working Mother magazines. And, most recently, the Bronson Healthy Living Campus, a partnership between Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and Bronson Healthcare garnered the 2019 American Association of Community Colleges Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership Award.
Sardone has served on the boards of numerous professional organizations including the Center for Health Design, Center for Healthcare Governance and the Michigan Health & Hospital Association where he served as chair 2009-2010. Currently, he is a board member of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Gilmore Keyboard Festival, Southwest Michigan First, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, and the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. His past service includes the boards of Downtown Kalamazoo, Inc., Greater Kalamazoo United Way, Hospice of Greater Kalamazoo, Hospital Hospitality House, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, and Ministry with Community.