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Published on January 14, 2021

Cone Health CEO and CFO Announce Transition Plans

Current chief operating officer and senior vice president of financial services will succeed them.

 

Cone Health Chief Executive Officer Terry Akin has made the decision to transition from Cone Health at the time Cone Health’s pending merger with Sentara Healthcare is completed, pending regulatory approval – expected in the middle of 2021. He will remain as CEO until then. Chief Financial Officer Jeff Jones has also made the decision to leave. He will leave Cone Health in February. The two have made their decisions independently and for purely personal reasons.  

Succeeding Akin following the merger will be current Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Mary Jo Cagle. Senior Vice President of Financial Services, Andy Barrow, will succeed Jones upon his upcoming departure. 

“On behalf of our entire community-led Board of Trustees, while we are saddened about their departure, we are fully supportive of the independent decisions Terry and Jeff have made for themselves and their families,” says Cone Health Board of Trustees Chairman FD Hornaday. “We are also confident that these changes, while significant, will draw upon strong internal talent and ensure good continuity of leadership for Cone Health into our merger with Sentara and through the exciting transitions that lay ahead. In their new roles, we look to Dr. Cagle and Andy Barrow to lead health care in our region into a future of exciting growth and possibility.” 

Akin and Jones

Akin has been part of Cone Health for 11 and a half years, serving as CEO since October of 2014. “I want to be very clear that this is a personal life decision for me and has nothing at all to do with the planned merger. I remain fully convinced that Cone and Sentara coming together represents the best possible future for our organization, and for the health and health care of our citizens for many generations to come. While I had originally planned to remain as our regional leader post-merger,” says Akin, “it was not until the passage of time and further reflection that my pathway became clear. In the immediate term, I plan to take some time off to discern what’s next for me. I do so in the knowledge that our organization is well positioned for major success through the exceptional leadership of Dr. Mary Jo Cagle and Andy Barrow.” 

Jones has been the chief financial officer for Cone Health for 8 years. “I have reached a point in my career where I want to consider what’s next in my future, and I have decided to leave Cone Health to do that,” says Jones. “This is entirely my decision. In fact, when organizations merge, it is relatively common for chief financial officers to step aside and make way for new leaders.” 

During their tenures, Cone Health vaulted to national prominence in many important areas and has become a recognized national leader in health care quality and value-based care. (Value-based care places an emphasis on keeping people well instead of treating them only when they are sick, thereby enhancing lives and reducing overall costs.) A hallmark of Akin’s tenure has been his emphasis on partnering with physicians and on physician leadership. The organization has also received numerous awards for its work on increasing equity and eliminating disparities in health care.

Cagle and Barrow

Cone Health Chief Operating Officer Dr. Mary Jo Cagle will become regional president once the Cone Health-Sentara Healthcare merger is formally approved. She joined the system in 2011 and has been very involved in the nearly 2-year process leading to the proposed merger. 

Cagle makes history as the first woman and the first physician to lead the multi-hospital Cone Health. Her original role at Cone Health was chief quality officer. She was instrumental in leading Cone Health to recognition as among the highest quality health systems in the nation. 

Andy Barrow has been with Cone Health since 2012.  Among other responsibilities, he has led the organization’s corporate finance, accounting and operations financial support functions. Barrow has also ensured remarkably strong working relationships between the organization’s financial division and operational and clinical teams. 

Cagle will work closely with Akin in the coming months to develop an organizational leadership structure that will serve Cone Health well into its transition with Sentara, and beyond.