MetroHealth CEO Dr. Akram Boutros is fired

The MetroHealth board of trustees on Monday evening, Nov. 21, announced the firing of the hospital system’s president and CEO, Dr. Akram Boutros.

The board cited additional compensation of more than $1.9 million that Boutros approved for himself between 2018-2022 for the cause of the termination.

“We know of no organization permitting its CEO to self-evaluate and determine their entitlement to an additional bonus and at what amount, as Dr. Boutros has done,” MetroHealth board chair Vanessa Whiting said in a statement.

Boutros intended to retire at the end of the year, to be succeeded by Airica Steed, currently an executive in the Sinai Chicago Health System.

During the preparation for the CEO transition, issues about Boutros’ compensation were brought to light to the board by outside counsel.

Contrary to the board’s approval role for the CEO’s compensation, Boutros “by his own admission, established specific metrics, conducted self-assessments of his performance under those metrics, and authorized payment to himself of more than $1,900,000 in supplemental bonuses based on those self-evaluations between,” according to the press release.

Boutros repaid the hospital system more than $2.1 million on Oct. 31, which included  interest on the bonus money. He reported the violation to the Ohio Ethics Commission on Nov. 1.

Dr. Nabil Chehade will serve as interim CEO until Steed assumes responsibility as CEO and president on Dec. 5.

Boutros was a transformative leader at MetroHealth since he took the helm in 2013.

During his tenure, MetroHealth grew to more than 20 community health centers, four hospitals, five MetroExpressCare locations and 10 pharmacies. Most visibly, he led the development of the $1 billion transformation of the system’s main campus on West 25th Street.

Reporter Lydia Coutre contributed to this article.

This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crain’s Cleveland Business.

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