In Search of a New CEO
Introducing William T. Thorwarth Jr., MD, FACR
The next CEO of the ACR needs little introduction to most of you. He is William T. Thorwarth Jr., MD, FACR. I will come back to him in more detail in a moment.
As you already know, after almost 12 years of exceptional service, Harvey L. Neiman, MD, FACR, has decided to retire as executive director/CEO of the College. The ACR has grown, diversified, and prospered under the leadership of many, but one person stands out for his contributions. I am referring to Dr. Neiman.
In June of 2013, as chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors, I appointed a search committee to begin the process of identifying a new CEO. The committee was composed of 15 distinguished physicians (14 diagnostic radiologists and one radiation oncologist) and one distinguished medical physicist. The people chosen for the search committee included several past presidents and chairs of the ACR, past gold medalists, and current members of the BOC and CSC. I attempted to achieve diversity in background, geography, gender, and age. We chose a consulting firm out of 10 contenders. Ultimately, the firm of Russell Reynolds and Associates was chosen after proposals and interviews were considered.
The search committee held several conference calls, and the consulting firm conducted interviews with the BOC, the CSC, and all assistant executive directors of the College. After mission and vision statements were created, the committee agreed upon a profile indicating which characteristics and values we were seeking. From there, we developed a job description. After widespread advertising of the opening, we received notification of interest by a large number of candidates. The list was culled down to 11, and then the search committee chose five finalists. All five finalists were invited to a face-to-face interview before the search committee. After voting, the search committee arrived at a unanimous choice. The committee’s selection was then presented to the BOC at our winter meeting, where the board ratified the choice.
“The one thing I have learned as a CEO is that leadership at various levels is vastly different. . . . As you move up the organization, the requirements for leading that organization don’t grow vertically; they grow exponentially.” — Indra Nooyi, chair and chief executive officer of PepsiCo
Since the founding of the ACR in 1924, the College has been led by seven individuals. The first two were physicians. Later businessmen, journalists, and lawyers were hired to fill the role. It was not until Dr. Neiman was selected in 2002 that the College returned to a physician as the top staff position.
Our next CEO will assume office in early to mid-April. He is a well-known and highly respected diagnostic radiologist with extensive experience as an ACR volunteer and officer. Many of you know Dr. Thorwarth in person or by reputation. He served as an alternate councilor to the ACR from North Carolina from 1986 to 1987 and as a councilor from 1992 to 1998 and 2005 to the present. In the 1990s, he served on multiple committees and commissions and joined the Board of Chancellors from 1998 to 2004. During that time, he was chair of the Commission on Economics. From 2003 to 2004, Dr. Thorwarth served as president of the ACR. In 2010, he was honored as a gold medalist of the College.
His work in economics included expertise in radiology coding, nomenclature, and physician reimbursement. He served on the AMA CPT Editorial Panel from 1999 to 2011 and, in 2007, became the first radiologist to chair that very important panel. In 2004, in recognition of the outstanding contributions of Dr. Thorwarth, the College created an award in his honor: The William T. Thorwarth Jr., MD, Award in Economics. The award is given on a merit basis to outstanding individuals deserving recognition in the field of economics and health policy.
Dr. Thorwarth received his education at Dartmouth and the University of North Carolina and has been in private practice with Catawba Radiological Associates in Hickory, North Carolina, for over 25 years. He has served with distinction with many other organizations at the local, state, and national levels. Dr. Thorwarth has served on the RSNA R&E Foundation and has been a member of the RSNA Board of Directors since 2009.
Please join me in welcoming Dr. Thorwarth as our next chief executive officer. To read more about Dr. Thorwarth, see pages 10–11 of this issue.
By Paul H. Ellenbogen, M.D., FACR, Chair