Cooper University Health Care announced Friday that Kevin O’Dowd, Gov. Chris Christie’s chief of staff, will leave his post within the administration to become its senior executive vice president and chief administrative officer.O’Dowd’s new role, which will formally begin in January, will cover business and organizational development as well as oversight of marketing, human resources, compliance and corporate real estate and development efforts.
“Kevin’s proven track record of strong management, development and implementation of strategic plans, as well as improving organization performance productivity, will make him an invaluable member of Cooper’s senior executive leadership team and the continued growth of the MD Anderson Cooper Partnership,” Cooper CEO and President Adrienne Kirby said. “His proven track record of leading large organizations will be extremely important as Cooper continues its expansion of programs and services throughout the region.”
O’Dowd, who has served as the governor’s chief of staff since 2012, is married to Mary O’Dowd, commissioner for the state Department of Health.
Though nominated last December by Christie to become the state’s next attorney general, O’Dowd saw that nomination held up in the wake of the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal. He was called upon in June to testify before the New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation, during which he said he had “no prior knowledge” of the lane closures.
Prior to joining the administration, O’Dowd worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey under Christie.
Regina Egea, director of the authorities unit in Christie’s office, is in line to replace O’Dowd as chief of staff.
In a phone interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday, Christie said O’Dowd informed him two or three weeks ago that he was considering the position.
“Kevin and I both decided this was the next best step for his future,” Christie told the Inquirer. “He served me extraordinarily well for 11 years. I don’t think I can ask a whole lot more out of somebody.”
South Jersey power broker and Cooper board of trustees Chairman George Norcross said in a statement Friday that with Cooper set to surpass $1 billion in revenue this year, O’Dowd is “the perfect choice to help us manage and continue this growth.”
“We are all excited that he is joining us and look forward to his leadership and talents to help us provide world-class care to the people of the entire tri-state region,” Norcross said.
“Kevin will be an excellent addition to the fine team George has assembled at Cooper,” Thomas B. Considine, a former state insurance commissioner, said. “I am certain he will add value far beyond the portfolio of his operational title.”
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