Dr. Betz appointed interim CEO of University of Utah Health after Dr. Lee resigns

Dr. A. Lorris Betz. Image via University of Utah Health Care School of Medicine.

SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah President David Pershing has named an interim replacement for Dr. Vivian Lee, the CEO of U of U Health who resigned Friday.

“I am pleased to announce that Dr. A. Lorris Betz has agreed to serve as interim senior vice president for the University of Utah Health Sciences, CEO of University of Utah Health, and executive dean of the University’s School of Medicine as we conduct a national search for this very important position,” Pershing stated in a press release. “Dr. Betz is uniquely suited to fill this role having previously served in the position, as well as having served as interim president of the University of Utah twice during his career.”

Dr. Lee resigned Friday in an email, citing the events of recent weeks as the reason for her decision. Lee came under fire after Dr. Mary Beckerle, CEO of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, was fired.

That firing led to protests and sharp criticism from Jon Huntsman Sr., and earlier this week Beckerle was reinstated. Dr. Lee will remain at the U of U as a tenured professor of radiology.

Pershing said Dr. Betz is well-respected by the university faculty, the community, and national leaders in health care.

“Dr. Betz is one of the most collaborative leaders I have worked with in my career and I am confident his seasoned leadership and understanding of the university will provide stability not only to our health care system and health sciences programs, but also to the university as a whole,” Pershing stated. “His experience will also ensure important initiatives, like the transformation of our health sciences campus, begun over the past few years will continue moving forward without interruption.”

Betz is no stranger to the three positions he is stepping into, as he served in all three capacities from 1999 to 2011. Betz has also twice served as the University of Utah’s interim president, and from 2013 to 2014 he was the chair of the board of directors for the Association of American Medical College’s Council.