Now the board’s negotiating process begins with the goal of bringing Dan Bonk, who heads Aurora Medical Center in Summit, Wis., to Aspen. The salary range for the position is $313,0000 to $467,000, a range based on a CEO compensation survey the hospital commissioned last fall. The hospital is also likely to offer Bonk performance-based incentives in addition to a base salary, a hospital spokeswoman said.
On Oct. 1, the hospital’s board conducted separate but public interviews with Bonk and finalist Peter Hofstetter, CEO of Holy Cross Hospital in Taos, N.M. Bonk, a former college track star, appeared to be the outgoing candidate; Hofstetter’s responses were genial, soft-spoken and of a more serious nature. Unlike Bonk, Hofstetter also had to explain recent layoffs at his hospital that were the result of government funding issues.
Bonk’s employer, Aurora Health Care, is a nonprofit network with 15 hospitals in Wisconsin. Its $270 million hospital in Summit opened in March 2010. Bonk reportedly joined Aurora in 2003.
The board did not discuss the two finalists’ attributes prior to its vote, which was conducted by secret ballot. However, the unanimous decision reflects the fact that the five board members — Dr. Barry Mink, real estate executive Chuck Frias, Dr. Mindy Nagle, tax and real estate attorney Lee Schumacher and retired health care attorney David Eisenstat — were of the same mind.
Eisenstat noted that the process of looking for a new CEO took four months and was assisted by an Illinois-based national executive search firm, Witt/Kieffer, which screened 40 resumes. In July, nine candidates were presented on paper to a hospital search committee.
“We had the benefit of an excellent search committee,” Eisenstat said prior to the vote.
Mink, after making a successful motion to enter negotiations with Bonk, added that Bonk seemed to make a favorable impression on the hospital’s medical staff, the board of directors and the community at large.
Despite the 5-0 vote, Mink said the decision was still a tough one, given Hofstetter’s talent and experience in the healthcare industry. Though the process of selecting the right man for the job was long, it was fair, Mink said.
“I think we’re in a very good position to recruit (Bonk),” he said. Both candidates were “very high caliber,” he added.
The CEO position has been held on an interim basis by former board member John Sarpa, a local developer, since David Ressler resigned from the post in April to take a job in Tucson, Ariz.