Former FCC Chairman Michael Powell elected to lead Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees

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the Mayo Clinic blue and white flag with three shield image, flying outside the Gonda Building

PHOENIX — Michael Powell, the former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chair who oversaw the rapid transformation of communications markets into the digital age, was elected chair of the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees at its meeting on Friday, Feb. 19. He will serve a four-year term.

Powell joined the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees in 2011 and has effectively led the board’s committees responsible for business development and information technology. He is president and CEO of The Internet & Television Association (NCTA), one of the largest trade associations in Washington, D.C. This association represents the communications and content industries.

“Michael lives Mayo Clinic’s values. He has a deep understanding of Mayo Clinic’s culture and values and appreciates how patients and staff feel about Mayo Clinic. That deep understanding helps identify opportunities to move Mayo Clinic forward,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., Mayo Clinic’s president and CEO. “He is inspired by the past to innovate for the future.”

Powell’s prior public service includes chief of staff of the Antitrust Division at the Department of Justice, policy adviser to the secretary of defense, and an armored cavalry officer in the U.S. Army. In the private sector, he practiced law and was a senior adviser in a private equity firm. Powell also served on the boards of Cisco Systems Inc. and AOL, and is a trustee of the National Archives Foundation. His nonprofit board service includes chair of the William & Mary Foundation board and America’s Promise Alliance, where he co-chairs the Grad Nation project, an effort to address the high school dropout crisis.

Powell replaces Sam Di Piazza, who joined the Mayo Board of Trustees in 2010, and was elected chair in 2014 and reelected for a second term in 2018. Di Piazza is the retired global CEO of PwC. He held multiple leadership positions during his 36-year career at the company, including chairman and senior partner, and member of the Global Leadership Team. He also was vice chairman of the Global Corporate and Investment Bank for Citigroup Inc.

During his tenure as board chair, Di Piazza increased the diversity and depth of talent on the board and helped guide Mayo Clinic’s:

  • Ascension to the No. 1 hospital in the nation ranking in U.S. News & World Report
  • Seven-year fundraising campaign that raised over $3.7 billion
  • Substantial capital investments to expand the health care capabilities of all Mayo Clinic locations, including the implementation of a single, integrated electronic health record  
  • Adoption of a Bold.Forward. strategy to transform and innovate health care
  • Comprehensive and industry-leading response to the COVID-19 pandemic

“As board chair, Sam helped us chart a successful course amid a rapidly changing health care environment, encouraging us to look ahead and think strategically for future planning,” says Dr. Farrugia. “He has always been gracious and generous with his time as chair and as a mentor and sounding board to many of our physician and administrative leaders, including myself.”

The board also elected two internal trustees to four-year terms:

  • Rafael Fonseca, M.D.
    Dr. Fonseca specializes in the care and research of multiple myeloma and related conditions. Dr. Fonseca has served in many leadership capacities at Mayo Clinic, including associate director for the Center of Individualized Medicine, chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, as well as interim director of Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. He is a Mayo Clinic Distinguished Investigator, the highest academic distinction given to investigators at the institution.
  • Charanjit Rihal, M.D.
    Dr. Rihal is a board-certified cardiologist with subspecialty certification in interventional cardiology. Dr. Rihal specializes in seeing patients with complex heart disease, focusing on providing minimally invasive therapies for patients with valve and structural heart disease. He has pioneered and developed many of these procedures in collaboration with the team at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Rihal was director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory from 2003 to 2010 and chair of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine from 2010 to 2017. Dr. Rihal chairs the Personnel Committee at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

The board recognized and honored two emeritus trustees:

  • Daniel Berry, M.D.
    Dr. Berry is the L.Z. Gund Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Mayo Clinic. He joined the staff of Mayo Clinic in 1991 and chaired the Department of Orthopedic Surgery from 2005 to 2014. A highly successful inventor, he has also has published more than 230 peer-reviewed papers and 90 book chapters, and has edited nine books on hip and knee arthroplasty.
  • Lois Krahn, M.D.
    Dr. Krahn is a professor of psychiatry in Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology and the Division of Pulmonary Medicine. Dr. Krahn has held several leadership positions at Mayo Clinic, including interim CEO of Mayo Clinic in Arizona. She has received numerous awards for her excellence in medical research and education.

The Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees, a 31-member group of public representatives and Mayo Clinic physicians and administrators, is responsible for patient care, medical education and research at Mayo Clinic’s campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota, as well as Mayo Clinic Health System, which is a network of clinics and hospitals serving more than 60 communities in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Board of Trustees meet quarterly.

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