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Stamford Hospital promotes Silard to CEO as Grissler quietly steps down

October 1, 2018

STAMFORD — Stamford Hospital CEO Brian Grissler quietly stepped down on Sunday from the position he’s held since 2001.

Kathleen Silard, chief operating officer and executive vice president, has been promoted to fill Grissler’s role as president and CEO, according to a press release.

Silard, who joined the hospital in 2003 and took on a more visible role during the hospital’s $450 million expansion over the last several years, will now oversee the city’s largest private employer, Stamford Health, which includes the more than 3,000 employees at the 305-bed Stamford Hospital.

Grissler, 64, said in a telephone interview Monday that he decided to retire earlier in the year and set up a transition plan with the hospital’s board. He earned $2.9 million in salary and benefits last year.

“I’m old and I’m tired,” he said, explaining his reasons for retiring.

Grissler said the hospital’s board of directors voted unanimously to promote Silard.

“She’s the complete package,” he said, of Silard. “She’s smart. She’s a very capable person.”

Silard, a Greenwich resident, has a clinical background, having started her career as a nurse in the pediatrics and neonatal intensive care unit at Albert Einstein Hospital in New York.

While at Einstein Hospital, she became the executive director of clinical operations and then served as the executive director of the Montefiore Medical Group. Prior to Stamford Hospital, Silard was the executive vice president and COO at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in New Jersey.

Patricia Sileo Agostino, a nurse at Stamford Hospital, was thrilled to hear Silard was named the new CEO.

“Many nurses, upon hearing of her promotion, said, ‘If there had been a vote and we were allowed to vote we would’ve voted for Kathy,’” she said in an email Monday. “It’s not just because she is an RN herself with a deep understanding about nurses who are part of the backbone of any hospital, but because she is a communicator, insightful, and we think she will make the hospital even better than it is.”

Budget concerns

In recent years, Stamford Hospital has experienced budget shortfalls, and has had to lay off employees. Twenty workers were laid off last year to account for a $25 million deficit. In 2015, the hospital also laid off 20 employees.

Hospital officials, at the time, partly attributed the budget shortfalls to the state’s hospital tax, which began in 2011.

Governor Dannel P. Malloy has defended the tax in the past, and repeatedly attacked high-grossing hospital officers, stating that such administrators were no longer running hospitals as not-for-profits entities.

Grissler was the third highest paid hospital employee in Connecticut last year, only trailing Yale New Haven Hospital President Richard D’Aquila and CEO Marna Borgstrom, according to the Connecticut Office of Health Strategy, which releases yearly reports on the top 10 earners at each of the state’s hospitals.

In 2017, Grissler made $2.86 million, mostly in fringe benefits, which amounted to $1.7 million of the total. In 2003, two years after he took the job, Grissler made $537,000.

D’Aquila made $5.56 million in 2017, while Borgstrom took home $3.63 million.

Silard, who made $1.2 million last year as the hospital’s COO, was instrumental in opening the new Stamford Hospital — a 13-floor, 650,000-square-foot complex — on time and under budget in 2016, according to a press release from the hospital.

Other accomplishments, according to the release, include creating the Stamford Health Heart &Vascular Institute, expanding services at the Carl & Dorothy Bennett Cancer Center, and “providing nursing leadership” that resulted in achieving Magnet designation, the highest honor for nursing service that any hospital can receive from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

ignacio.laguarda@stamfordadvocate.com

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