HHS_web1-03On Feb. 3, Hamilton Health Sciences, a billion-dollar consortium of hospitals and health care providers, got a new boss.

Rob MacIsaac left Mohawk College, after five years as the school’s President, to take the helm of Ontario’s second-largest healthcare system.

MacIsaac came into the role with considerable experience as a leader in public service and a history of successful management but no healthcare experience.

“It’s a big learning curve for me but I’m enjoying it. There is lots of great support here,” he said. “In the early going, the best strategy is to listen and learn, so that’s what I’ve been doing.”

He continued “The board obviously didn’t hire me because of medical expertise. They hired me to lead the organization and those [leadership] are skills I’ve been working on for a long long time.”

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MacIsaac also notes that his experience in public service will be valuable.

“I’ve been working in public service for about 20 years. I have a lot of skills that I bring from those other public service jobs into this job,” he said. “I enjoy policy and I enjoy trying to make my community a better place—that’s what brought me here.”

Before becoming the President of Mohawk, he also served as the Chair of GO Transit and Presto operator Metrolinx. Before that, he was a City Councillor and then Mayor of Burlington.

Depending on performance, MacIsaac will earn between $540,000 and $650,000 annually. This is not, at all, far off from the salary of outgoing CEO Murray Martin who took home $647,465 in 2012.

The job will not be without its challenges. MacIsaac identifies two major issues that he, and the rest of the healthcare industry, will have to deal with in the coming years.

“We have the emergence of two mega-trends…we have a rapidly aging population and at the same time the provincial government is running a deficit,” he said.

Meeting the needs of an older population on a potentially smaller budget will be the biggest test for the industry, according to MacIsaac.

Despite the challenges, and still learning the ebbs and flows of healthcare world, MacIsaac is optimistic about his tenure as CEO.

“I’m really excited about the job. I think it’s going to be a challenge. It’s a wonderful opportunity,” MacIsaac told the Spectator.


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