The new chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s board of directors said his top priority is standardizing patient care so best practices are shared throughout the health system.
“The first thing that we’re doing is an enterprise-wide review of all of [the Clinic’s] quality and patient safety standards and procedures … to identify best practices and standardize them,” said Robert Rich Jr. told the Cleveland interview with The Plain Dealer. “I’m surprised that this hadn’t been done before.”
Rich, a billionaire who’s chairman of food-processing company Rich Products, has been a member of the Clinic’s board since 2002. Last week, the Clinic announced that he’d succeed Malachi Mixon III, who’d been chairman since 1997.
In 2010, Forbes magazine listed Rich, 70, at No. 488 on its “World’s Billionaire’s” list, with a net worth of $2 billion. Forbes credits Rich’s father, Robert Sr., with parlaying a “soy-based whipped cream, nondairy coffee creamer into [a] frozen-food empire.”
Rich, who lives in Florida, said his second order of business with the Clinic would be to review the board’s committee structure to ensure that all the committees are “high-performance operations.”
“The best boards I’ve served on have been the most active and effectively engaged committees. … For me, it’s all about accountability and execution,” he told The Plain Dealer.
Rich first met Cleveland Clinic CEO Dr. Toby Cosgrove at Williams College, a small liberal arts school in Massachusetts, where the two were fraternity brothers. Unlike other frat boys, it seems, Cosgrove didn’t spend the majority of his time drinking cheap beer, playing Foosball and chasing sorority girls.
“To tell you the truth, he didn’t see a lot of me,” Rich said. “He always had his nose in a book.”