Mercy Medical Center - Des Moines announced this afternoon that its board of directors has selected Robert P. "Bob" Ritz as the organization's new president.

Ritz, who will begin his duties in early July, currently serves as division president of Hospital Sisters Health System in Springfield, Ill., and as president and CEO of St. John's Hospital in Springfield. He brings 25 years of health care leadership experience and a long list of accomplishments to Central Iowa.

Mercy - Des Moines, an 802-bed acute-care not-for-profit Catholic hospital, is situated on three campuses with a staff of more than 6,600 employees and a medical staff of more than 950 physicians and health professionals. Mercy is part of Catholic Health Initiatives, a national nonprofit health system based in Englewood, Colo.

"I am very pleased to have the opportunity to join the highly respected team of people at Mercy," Ritz said in a release. "Mercy Medical Center - Des Moines is an organization with a great reputation, strong values, and a history and tradition focused on the healing ministry of the Sisters of Mercy." 

Ritz said he is deeply committed to creating the best possible patient experience as he works with others on the team to improve health care delivery. 

Ritz will succeed Dave Vellinga as president of Mercy - Des Moines, and will report to Vellinga, who is president and CEO of Mercy Health Network and a member of the Mercy board of directors. Ritz's appointment will allow Vellinga to concentrate his energies on the activities and relationships of Mercy Health Network across Iowa and with national organizations, officials said in a release.

Click here for a related Business Record story about Dave Vellinga.

During the past five years at Hospital Sisters Health System, Ritz helped develop strategic alignments with area hospitals and physician practices, oversaw a $180 million first-phase project to rebuild the hospital's main campus, and helped St. John's navigate through a variety of financial and competitive challenges.

"We are extremely pleased to have a leader with Bob's experience join Mercy," said Mercy board chairman Steve Chapman. "He has demonstrated the ability to continually improve care in a constantly changing environment. He is an exceptional communicator and understands the importance of teamwork in achieving excellence. Most importantly, he clearly has demonstrated throughout his career that his personal values and mission are completely aligned with those of Mercy."