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Utah University Health Care Picks News CEO in Wake of Uproar

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah Health Care announced Saturday the appointment of an interim leader after the previous chief executive left in the wake of an uproar over a personnel decision.

Lorris Betz has been named senior vice president for the University’s Health Sciences, CEO of University of Utah Health Care and executive dean of the University’s School of Medicine, University President David Pershing said in a news release.

Betz will come out of retirement for assume the three roles, which he held from 1999 to 2011, the university said.

“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 said in the statement. “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.”

The previous leader of University of Utah Health Care, Vivian Lee. sent her resignation letter on Friday. The move came after high tensions with staff for the firing of the Huntsman Cancer Institute director last week.

Jon Huntsman Sr., the institute’s benefactor, said he is not sad to see Lee go.

Lee and Pershing fired Mary Beckerle from the institute mid-April. The action brought protests from faculty and a threat to withhold donations from Huntsman. Beckerle was brought back on Thursday,

Lee will continue to serve as a tenured professor of radiology, according to a university news release.

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