April 22nd, 2013

Actelion Executive to Head American College of Cardiology

Shalom “Shal” Jacobovitz will be the new chief executive officer of the American College of Cardiology, the ACC announced today. Jacobovitz is currently the president of the U.S. division of Actelion Pharmaceuticals, best known for its pulmonary hypertension drugs.

Shalom Jacobovitz

Shalom “Shal” Jacobovitz

Jacobovitz worked at Hoffmann La Roche, Abbott Canada, Nordic Labs, and Marion Merrill Dow before joining Actelion.  He joins the college after a year-long search that was initiated following the sudden departure of the previous ACC CEO, Jack Lewin.

“Shal has a track record that demonstrates he is the right person to lead a strong organization like the ACC and to take it to the next level at a time when health care is undergoing massive changes,” said ACC President John Gordon Harold, in an ACC press release. “He is an innovative and proven leader as well as a successful mentor and team builder. Shal brings a unique perspective at a time when the College is ramping up to meet the evolving needs of cardiovascular professionals domestically and around the globe.”

I asked Harold to comment on the issue of a pharmaceutical executive serving as the CEO of the ACC:

The ACC has long been a leader in transparency and ensuring positive appropriate relationships with industry. Shal Jacobovitz and the ACC are committed to full transparency. Shal has voluntarily divested himself entirely of all personal investments in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries that could be perceived as a conflict of interest. It was never an issue.

As the landscape evolves for physicians, medical professionals, payers, hospitals, and patients we wanted a CEO with the new approaches, perspectives, and skills that Mr. Jacobovitz possesses. He brings a wealth of experience in leading organizations during times of rapid change and in building strong, high-functioning teams to address these changes.”

“It is a privilege for me to join the ACC,” Jacobovitz said in the ACC press release. “The College is a thriving medical professional society that is well positioned to be at the center of rapid changes in health care. I look forward to working with the ACC’s dedicated professional staff and member leaders to build on the College’s legacy of leadership in quality improvement, patient-centered care, clinical education and practice excellence.”

4 Responses to “Actelion Executive to Head American College of Cardiology”

  1. The statement addresses present financial conflicts for him, personally, but not the influence of industry – which just increased due to his professional contacts. It also does not address any personal biases be has. ACC would have been better to avoid a person with his background. He may be an amazing CEO and imminently qualified – I have no personal knowledge – but his background should have been exclusionary. The analogies of ex-government employees who go work for lobbying firms – or vice versa – businesses that love and even give incentives to employees to leave and go into government – are apt. Again, this is not a personal atack on him. It is a concern about the short-sightedness of the ACC leadership. It looks bad.

  2. Joel Wolkowicz, MDCM says:

    We need to be beyond reproach. Instead we look like a government bureaucracy, with a revolving door relationship with our lobbyists. No more donations from this member to the ACCPAC. I’m not sure whose interests are being defended.

  3. Enrique Guadiana, Cardiology says:

    Don’t do good things that may seem bad. Don’t do bad things that may seem good. The ACC must avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

  4. William DeMedio, MD says:

    A good administrative leader has qualities that are best honed in private industry. Shalom Jacobvitz has extensive experience in this sector. Hence, it is not surprising at all that he was selected as CEO of the ACC. I see no conflicts of interest with his selection. On the contrary, if the ACC wants a more efficient, productive leadership, they probably should look for mere people like him. An organization needs to be well run to be effective.