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CEO Graham to leave El Camino at end of June

Original post made on Feb 10, 2011

El Camino Hospital announced on Feb. 10 that CEO Ken Graham will end his contract with the organization at the end of the current fiscal year on June 30. An official hospital release said Graham's tenure, which has lasted nearly five years, is ending "without cause, at the request of the hospital's board of directors."

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, February 10, 2011, 5:36 PM

Comments (28)

Posted by Jobhunter
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 10, 2011 at 5:51 pm

So now there's an opening that pays $500K+? Where do I send my resume?

Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2011 at 6:10 pm

How much will we have to pay for his parachute? Or was it pre-paid by letting some of the nurses go?

Posted by Fed up
a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2011 at 11:09 pm

From where I stand there is not enough money in the world to take on that CEO role and be as underappreciated as Mr. Graham is by some. It is a role he has embraced with integrity and professionalism.

If you are concerned about the nursing situation at El Camino, please consult this week's news stories about the nursing crisis at Stanford for some perspective.

Posted by It is About Time!
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2011 at 8:49 am

I am very appreciative that he will finally be gone!

Posted by LOL
a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 11, 2011 at 9:42 am

"About time" its clear your understanding of what Graham has done and his abilities is solely based on what you read in Newspapers. This situation is essentially like a coach who has never played the game letting go of a player who was voted MVP by the rest of the league. Graham is regarded as one of if not the top healthcare executives in the country. He was just awarded/recognized by the American College of Healthcare Executives the Gold Leaf award, their highest level of recognition. While the hospital has gone through a rough year like the majority of businesses in the area the turnaround he has orchestrated is nothing short of stunning. $37M+ ahead of budget and still growing. This would have allowed him to reverse some of the cutbacks previously implemented. This board is made up of people with zero management experience let alone any hands on healthcare experience in Hospital administration. If you think this is a good thing you are very ignorant. This board is returning us to the crony capitalism and conflict of interests which plagued the hospital for years. The chairman of the board has ties with a few well known DRs who in the past, to say it nicely, had questionable motivations. There is nothing to indicate this was done in the best interest of the hospital or the community as Grahams release is "without cause". Hard to have cause when the hospital is now firing on all cylinders with a bright future. Not only do we lose a very well regarded and experienced leader this will cost the hospital financially. You will eat your words when you see the puppet they replace Graham with.

Posted by Fed Up
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2011 at 10:35 am

This decision to terminate Graham, with little to no transparency, is our teachable moment. If we dont learn our lesson and take a more active stance in demanding better representation on the board, we remain part of the problem and can only expect to return to the era where conflicts of interest abound. Like LOL says, we have a hospital running on "all cylinders" with a skilled, nationally recognized and ethical leader at the helm. The board has made a decision, "without cause" to go in a different direction. What different direction is that exactly? A return to the "good old days"? Lets finally learn our lesson as a community and demand better.

Posted by jupiterk
a resident of Gemello
on Feb 11, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Oh, OH, The unemployment pool is getting bigger now and it has multi millionaries, mansion and yacht owners now. Tough sailing , indeed.

Posted by It is About Time!
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I work in it and have seen the steady decline for years. I am NOT ignorant of the goings on in the organization. What is published and what is happening are not exactly the same. Thank you very much for your valuable opinions Fed Up and LOL.

Posted by Nick V
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on Feb 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Nick V is a registered user.

To any and all El Camino Hospital employees:

If any hospital employee has any informed insight into why CEO Graham may have been let go, we would like to know about it.

Feel free to email me, Nick Veronin, at [email protected]

Posted by How?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 12, 2011 at 8:41 am

How can I say anything without fear of being fired?

Posted by Ns
a resident of Gemello
on Feb 12, 2011 at 10:19 am

Send the info anonymously. Whos gonna fire you I'm sure your doing him a favor

Posted by Rodger
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 12, 2011 at 10:45 am

I hope everyone associated with buying the out of district hospital in Los Gatos should also be looking for a new job.

Posted by Nice Work if You Can Get It!
a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2011 at 11:17 am

Mr. Graham's cheerleaders need not worry. $1M Parachute? He is crying all the way to the bank.

Web Link

Posted by boards a mess
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 14, 2011 at 10:08 am

This board is not a stellar group and showing they're lack of knowledge every move they make. It's pretty strange that they want to let go of a decorated and successful CEO unless they're hiding something. Does someone on the board have an agenda that is not in the communities best interest? Strange indeed and I think some investigation is in order.

Posted by Open the Kimono
a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2011 at 3:05 pm

I hope the local news organizations will continue to press for the details with respect to the Graham dismissal. The cost to the public of this firing, unnecessary in light of the Hospital's performance under Ken Graham, is significant. Costs will include the contractual severance "the parachute", paying for an overlapping second CEO during the 18 months, funding of relocation, a likely signing bonus and the fee to a recruitment firm, etc. Furthermore it is unlikely the salary of a new CEO will be lower than that of Graham! The effect of the ousting without cause will surely limit the number (and quality) of candidates to take on the El Camino CEO role and could even have an adverse effect on retention of current senior staff. For the community that partially funds the hospital, the cost alone demands transparency with respect to this decision.

Posted by NS
a resident of Gemello
on Feb 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm

What about the hospitals bond rating? Anyone know the time table for the revaluation? First the CFO and now the CEO vacancy...this has got to lead to a hit. This could make the $1M severance look like childsplay.

Posted by NS
a resident of Gemello
on Feb 15, 2011 at 4:10 pm

quick google search yielded the below,not sure of the timetables but I would expect the recent financials to help fight this.

El Camino Hospital, Calif., Revs on Moody’s Watch for Downgrade

NEW YORK - Moody's Investors Service said it has placed the A1 long term rating assigned to El Camino Hospital, Calif.'s revenue bonds on watchlist for potential downgrade.

Posted by LM
a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2011 at 6:41 pm

From my understanding, the potential downgrade in the hospital's bond rating is a common practice anytime there is a change or possibility of change in executive leadership in a company. The possibility of the A1 rating being downgraded, or put on watch, is yet one more financial cost to this decision that was made "without cause".

Posted by Lilly
a resident of another community
on Feb 17, 2011 at 9:56 pm

For those that challenge the board as not being a stellar group, I challenge community members to seek election to the board of directors during the next election. I believe that there has been no elections held for several years since there was no competition for these unpaid voluntary positions. The community is fortunate to have highly educated professionals representing the district. The board includes a physician, a retired nursing director, a PhD researcher, and two representatives from technology - one with a Stanford MBA and the other a Stanford MSEE.

Posted by NS
a resident of Gemello
on Feb 18, 2011 at 8:50 am

Educated they may be but relevant experience they do not have. The physician was appointed not elected correct? She also has a practice in the district which could be considered a conflict of interest. "Nursing Director" is simply a fancy title for a nurse which while is extremely respectable it does not lend itself to managing a large organization or business. The PHD researcher has zero management experience let alone any real world experience managing a business or large organization. The last published report I can find from him is nearly a decade old. He is also old guard who was onboard during the last CEO/Heart Institute debacle and allowed the blatant conflict of interest deals to go down. Would not be surprised if his past ties is directly tied to this whole mess. The member with the MBA at least may have some understanding of a P&L statement but zero healthcare experience let alone hospital administration and the last time I checked there is little Electrical Engineering involved in running a hospital or managing hundreds of employees. To their credit the MSEE and MBA holder did not support this perplexing decision to get rid of Graham. What we need is people with experience managing companies and large organizations. This is a business and we need people who understand the industry, the challenges of corporate finances and have direct and relevant experience in dealing with HEALTHCARE. Just because you have an advanced degree in some unassociated field doesn’t mean you qualified to manage some unrelated discipline. I have a MBA am I qualified to run the Heart Institute I think not!

Posted by BG
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 24, 2011 at 12:05 am

Bravo boards a mess, LOL, Open the Kimono, NS - you are right on!
The public needs to demand answers, and this outrageous decision needs to be reversed!

Posted by bystander
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Nursing Director is a nurse and a nurse with experience managing multiple cost centers in hospital---includes clinical and financial oversight. Know before thy speak. He is highly qualified for the board and has a wisdom borne of experience.

Posted by HUH
a resident of Gemello
on Feb 28, 2011 at 10:55 am

Oh please he lists himself as a "Retired Healthcare Director" on El Caminos Bio to make his experience sound more relevant. Where did he serve as a "Nursing Director" and when? Attend a Board meeting and hear him speak... certainly doesnt come off as "highly qualified" or experienced for that matter!

Posted by knot
a resident of another community
on Mar 8, 2011 at 1:11 am

You people that support this crook are nothing but sheeple. He laid off workers after complaining of deficits when, in fact, El Camino ended up with a 37 million surplus?!?! Ummm...what kind of a business person lays off 140 workers while crying wolf only to end up with a pretty substantial surplus? Meanwhile, the hospital looks more like a Ritz Carlton than a hospital and he made the ingenious decision of taking over the Los Gatos hospital and its staff which has never really worked well at all by any measure. Who gives a hoot what accolades this bozo received by some haughty health organization? How good was he at running a hospital? Answer. He wasn't - just desserts.

Posted by knot
a resident of another community
on Mar 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Oh...and anyone that wants to refute how he ran this hospital. One example pretty much sums it up. Food snacks (off-hours) for extended stay, critically ill patients was eliminated and the blanket on the patient's bed was eliminated from every room, but they sure did get the big flat-panel TV monitors in every room during the renovation didn't they? Oh, and don't forget plethora of huge monitors in the lobby running nature scenes. If I was really ill, I'd sure want to make sure that the hospital that I'm at had PLENTY of television screens throughout - blankets and food be damned! Yet, the hospital ran a $37 million surplus in '09-'10. Let's hear you foolish bobble-heads discuss Mr. Graham's merits now, you simplistic nitwits.

Posted by LOL
a resident of Gemello
on Mar 9, 2011 at 8:28 am

While we are all blown away by your insightful comments and mastery of the English language it’s unfortunate you don't have your facts straight. The hospital plans and all the TVs you have such angst against were bought and planned well before Graham arrived. If you’d like to focus your anger regarding the creature comforts available at the hospital look no further than the legacy board members who approved the budget and plans which were solidified years ago. It’s also curious you state that 140 people were laid off as there is no state or county record to support these figures. Regarding the Los Gatos purchase, if you took the time to actually look at the financials and facts it is performing quite well and contributing PROFIT to the hospitals bottom line. Yes the hospital is now ahead of budget which is largely due to budget cuts made to ensure the deficit was eliminated. I guess you would have been happy for cuts to be made and the hospital to remain in the red. Heaven forbid that cost cutting actually work in this day and age as I know we are all used to these types of programs doing nothing! For the record food is available 24 hrs a day if requested and there are ample blankets if your cold. The cost and waste generated by supplying food (requested or not) and laundering linens (used or not) is quiet significant(as seen in the airline industry!) If these are your gripes about how the hospital is ran you better put that thinking cap back on as they simply don’t hold water....

Posted by knot
a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm


Your "insightful" comments are predictable and fallacious. First of all, when El Camino bought the Los Gatos hospital, it also took on its employees and even hired more employees followed shortly thereafter by an announced layoff (yes, employees did get layoff notices). Why would you purchase Los Gatos in a recession, hire more employees, and announce a layoff at the end of October only to end the year with a $37 million dollar surplus?!?! Now that's some intelligent forecasting, no? In reality, it was management's short-sighted attempt at attacking the union prior to the union's new CBA in 2011. By firing this "warning shot" across the bow, it weakens the union's bargaining position. The fact that you can't find the layoff numbers is simply smoke and mirrors, friend. It's public knowledge that the hospital was able to "find places for the employees" at the last minute or the layoff candidates opted for buyouts. Buyouts don't show as layoffs on state numbers. Yet management all got their raises and bonuses that year didn't they? Also, to compare a hospital to an airline is equally as foolish. Airlines run on tight margins and customers are generally not ill so they don't REQUIRE blankets which is why the airlines charge for them. The same reason that the airlines are thinking of charging for peanuts and already charge for meals and additional baggage - they're considered extras. And, no, snacks given to patients (from the units not the kitchen) during 3rd shifts were actually eliminated - check on it. I guess that a $37 million surplus in a "bad year" just can't possibly find its way as a blanket on a hospital bed of a sick patient without being an amenity, huh? Sounds an awful lot like stuffed suits talking again...In the end, you don't need to defend yourself, Graham's toast, and I'm good with it.

Posted by IHT
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2011 at 8:49 am

Losing Ken Graham as CEO is a mistake. You will see that when El Camino returns to doing things "the El Camino way". By then it will be too late and you'll be stuck with the puppet this "publically accountable" board that refuses to provide any information or rationale about their actions or decision making puts in his place. Anyone interested in the financials should attend board meetings and find out for themselves or watch the videotaped sessions online.

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