VAIL — Vail’s Steadman Clinic and Steadman Philippon Research Institute announced on Tuesday that former Walmart executive and institute board member Tom Mars was named CEO of both organizations.
Mars will guide the direction of both the prestigious orthopedic clinic and the internationally recognized research branch of the organization — the clinic and institute previously had separate CEOs. In the newly created position, Mars partially steps into the shoes that would have been filled by former president and CEO of the Steadman Philippon Research Institute, Mike Egan. Egan died in a bike accident in 2011.
Lyon Steadman, who was CEO of the Steadman Clinic, will continue with his normal executive managing role of day-to-day operations at the clinic.
Clinic and institute leaders hope Mars will be able to give the two branches a unified vision for success in the future, which includes building the clinic’s reputation on a national and international level, bringing more funding to the research institute and using his network to create valuable partnerships for the company.
The research institute is a leader in orthopedic research and pioneering evidence-based procedures, most recently recognized in Europe for ground-breaking research on labral reconstruction in the hip. Mars said he will help the institute continue producing such advances, as well as establish the Steadman Clinic as a household name that would be a first choice for anyone looking for orthopedic surgery options.
Both partner-founder and surgeon Richard Steadman and managing partner-surgeon Marc Philippon said they felt Mars’ experience leading Walmart, as well as in management positions in other careers, will help the clinic and institute reach its full potential for keeping people active.
“We felt there was a leadership that was needed that we just didn’t have,” said Steadman of bringing Mars on board. “There was a lot of hesitancy in filling (Egan’s) job because it was a job he should have had. Then along came a candidate that we just couldn’t pass up.”
Mars spent more than a decade with Walmart, the world’s largest retailer. Before retiring in March, Mars served as executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Walmarts in the U.S. He was responsible for real estate strategy and operations, human resources, asset protection and financial services in the United States. He also led the company’s employment practices, labor relations and compliance departments. Previous to that career, Mars also was director of the Arkansas State Police and practiced law.
He came upon the Steadman Clinic as a patient — he was in need of knee surgery after years of running and other athletics. A local surgeon in Arkansas suggested he look outside the area to get the procedure done, and Mars quickly came upon the Steadman Clinic. Originally expecting a tough procedure and about six weeks on crutches to repair a meniscus and relieve arthritis, Mars said he was impressed with the care he received at the Steadman Clinic. Also, he was shocked that he was on a spin bike the day after the surgery, out of the hospital within a couple of days and walking without crutches less than three weeks post-operation.
He joined the research institute board about three years ago, and now said he is excited to move his family to Vail and help lead both the nonprofit institute and the clinic.
“Any seasoned business executive who’s familiar with the Steadman Clinic and the Steadman Philippon Research Institute would jump at the opportunity to lead these great organizations,” Mars said. “Given my perspective as a SPRI board member and a former patient of the Steadman Clinic, it’s easy to see the potential for these organizations to have an even greater influence on the advancement of sports medicine. My family and I are looking forward to living in the Vail Valley and being part of the community.”
Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and firstname.lastname@example.org.