Vail: Hospital hires new CEO |

Vail: Hospital hires new CEO

Special to the DailyJohn H. Cassin

VAIL Colorado ” John Cassin was on a plane Friday, headed to what he thought was a new job in Abu Dhabi. He’s been detoured to Vail.

Cassin was hired Wednesday as the new president and chief executive officer of Vail Valley Medical Center. He starts May 16, and replaces Greg Repetti, whose resignation was announced April 18.

It can take months to replace the top person at a hospital. That this happened in a couple of weeks was the result of some good fortune, said Vail Valley Medical Center Board of Directors Chairman Ron Davis.

“John’s well known in the Colorado medical community,” Davis said. “We knew he was available… It was a fast sequence of events.”

Cassin’s most recent job was strategic planning for the Anschutz Medical Center in Aurora, which is bringing three hospitals, five medical schools and several other facilities to the site of the former Fitzsimmons Army Hospital there.

Cassin, who lives in Gennessee near Denver and who has a home in Singletree, was between jobs, and was ready to finish negotiations with a Cleveland-based medical company to run a project in the Persian Gulf state of Abu Dhabi.

“It wouldn’t been a five-year project,” Cassin said. “It’s the opportunity to build a massive facility.”

But, he said, the opportunity to work in Vail, and to have his family all in one place outweighed the lure of the Abu Dhabi job.

While the job in the Persian Gulf would have come with essentially a blank check for technology and projects, Cassin said this is an exciting time to come to Vail Valley Medical Center.

“The biggest challenge here is taking Vail Valley Medical Center and moving it into the future,” Cassin said. “We need to make sure our development mirrors the needs of the community.”

The hospital is already well established in its orthopedic and cancer care facilities, Cassin said. The hospital could expand its current cardiac care, he said, and needs to determine what else “a growing, aging” community needs.

Cassin said with his planning background, and roughly 30 years in the medical industry, he’s confident he can help make those changes.

So is Davis.

“It’s incredible how many of our physicians here know people who know him,” Davis said. And, he added, the reports from the locals were universally glowing.

While Davis said the board is excited to have landed Cassin, he’ll be the hospital’s fourth CEO in the last five years.

Cassin said he’s aware of the turnover at the medical center, but said he wants to stick around for a long time.

“I hope to be the person who cracks the bottle of champagne at a new facility,” he said.

He said a big part of longevity at a medical center is managing expectations.

“You need to make sure the expectations, goals and objectives are realistic,” he said.

Davis said the board believes Cassin can restore continuity to the hospital’s top job.

“He’s an extraordinary executive,” Davis said. “We’re very fortunate to have been able to recruit him.”

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or

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