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Reorganization leaves Methodist Hospital prez without job

January 23, 2014

The president of Indiana University Health’s Methodist and University hospitals will step down March 1, according to an internal memo.

Jim Terwilliger had led IU Health’s two flagship hospitals since July 2012, when longtime executive Sam Odle retired.

But Terwilliger appears to have lost out in a game of musical chairs that developed after IU Health hired a second executive, Dennis Murphy, to fill Odle's other job of chief operating officer for the entire hospital system. Murphy, who arrived in Indianapolis six months ago, launched a leadership reorganization that has now led to Terwilliger's departure.

Terwiliger methodist mug Terwilliger

“I have decided to reorganize a portion of the leadership within the academic health center,” Murphy wrote in the memo, which was distributed to executives throughout the IU Health system. “Jim Terwilliger will be stepping down as the president for IU Health Methodist and University hospitals effective March 1, 2014, to pursue leadership opportunities outside of IU Health.”

Dr. Jeff Sperring, the CEO of IU Health’s Riley Hospital for Children, will serve as interim president of Methodist and University hospitals, while IU Health conducts a search for a permanent replacement.

Terwilliger has agreed to help Sperring make the transition to his additional role.

Terwilliger, 52, hasn’t been at IU Health long. He arrived in June 2011 as vice president of IU Health Cancer Services, after leading the cancer business at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

While in Indianapolis, Terwilliger joined the board of the United Way of Central Indiana.

Terwilliger became the interim chief of Methodist and University hospitals after Odle, a Methodist executive for more than 30 years, retired. IU Health named Terwilliger president of those hospitals in September 2012.

During his short tenure, Terwilliger was involved in two tough decisions. He and other IU Health executives decided to halt construction of a new bed tower at Methodist that could have cost up to $500 million.

In addition, Terwilliger and Sperring worked to cut 746 positions from IU Health’s three downtown hospitals.

“Please join me in thanking Jim for his contributions to the IU Health team,” Murphy wrote in his memo.

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