Dr. Penny Wheeler announces plan to retire as CEO of Allina Health at the end of 2021

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MINNEAPOLIS (Sept 9, 2021) —Today, Dr. Penny Wheeler announced her plan to retire at the end of 2021 after a career at Allina Health spanning decades as a physician, President of the Abbott Northwestern medical staff, Chief Medical Officer and finally as CEO since 2014. Wheeler will remain on the Board of Directors after she transitions out of the CEO role. The Board of Directors named Lisa Shannon, currently serving as the President and Chief Operating Officer, as Wheeler’s successor.

“The community, countless patients and families, and Allina Health have benefited in innumerable ways from the passion, commitment and servant leadership of Dr. Penny Wheeler,” said Deb Schoneman, Chair of the Allina Health Board of Directors. “We thank her for her decades of incredible service and contributions to Allina Health. Penny leaves an indelible mark on our organization and her legacy of leading systemic changes to better support whole person care, diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as payment model reform will continue to benefit the communities we serve well into the future. We are grateful she will remain engaged with the organization on the Board of Directors.”

Wheeler plans to fully transition CEO leadership duties at the end of 2021. Lisa Shannon assumed the President title in 2020 and the two will continue their close partnership and collaboration throughout the transition. “My journey has been inextricably linked with Allina Health since the day I was born at Abbott Northwestern Hospital,” said Wheeler. “It has been the ride of a lifetime and I am filled with tremendous gratitude and pride for what we have collectively been able to accomplish in service of others over the years.”

In 2014, Wheeler became both the first physician and first woman CEO of Allina Health. Recently named a Luminary by Modern Health Care for her multiple appearances on their Top 25 Women Leaders in Health Care list, Wheeler’s hallmark collaborative approach has been on frequent display throughout her leadership tenure. Wheeler championed care model partnerships like the Mother Baby Center with Children’s Minnesota. More recently, Wheeler has orchestrated several high profile initiatives designed to financially reward Allina Health for keeping patients and communities well, including starting Allina Health Aetna, a jointly owned insurance venture, as well as inking a number of innovative value-based care partnerships with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and HealthPartners. Wheeler is also noted for her focus on elevating mental health and addiction care, as well as her leadership in addressing systemic inequities in the health care system.

“Allina Health has enabled me to fulfill my purpose to improve the lives of others as both a physician and as a leader,” said Wheeler. “Along the way, I have collected countless stories from those who I have been so privileged to meet. It is those stories that I will miss the most, but the timing is right for me to step away. I have tremendous gratitude and optimism for the future of Allina Health under Lisa Shannon’s incredible leadership.”

Lisa Shannon’s health care career began as a dietician working as part of a burn and trauma team in Dayton, Ohio. Since then she has held a variety of leadership roles throughout the Midwest including at OhioHealth Corporation in Columbus, OH, Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Catholic Health Initiatives at KentuckyOne Health, in Louisville, Kentucky. “Lisa Shannon is an excellent fit because she is first and foremost a leader who is passionate about the tradition of care excellence, safety and community engagement that defines Allina Health,” said Schoneman. “With this seamless leadership transition, the organization is well positioned to accelerate our transformation work to improve health care for the better for all those we serve. The Board of Directors is looking forward to our next chapter under Lisa’s leadership.”

“My journey in health care began as part of a clinical team and being deeply committed to making a positive impact on every patient I interacted with,” said Shannon. “Throughout my entire career, I have remained passionate about quality care and elevating the voice and expertise of those who are doing the work to deliver on our caring mission. This is more important now than ever as we navigate through some of the most dynamic and challenging times that health care has faced in decades. I am deeply honored to have been selected to lead Allina Health and am privileged to have been able to work alongside Penny Wheeler for the last four years. She has been an exceptional leader, mentor and friend.”

Lisa Shannon is a dietetics and nutrition graduate of Bowling Green State University in Ohio and earned an MBA from Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio. She has continued her education pursuing a PhD in Leadership and Change. Shannon has four children with her husband Thomas. She is currently serving on the Board of the Greater Twin Cities United Way and serves St. Thomas University on the Opus Board of Strategic Advisors.

About Allina Health

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 11 hospitals, 15 retail pharmacies, specialty care centers and specialty medical services, home care, and emergency medical transportation services.