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Kelby Krabbenhoft out as Sanford Health CEO after nearly 25 years on the job

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KTIV) – The head of one of the largest regional health systems in the Midwest has been replaced after telling employees that he had recovered from COVID-19 and was not wearing a mask.

Sanford Health said in a release Tuesday that it has "mutually agreed to part ways" with longtime CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft, who took over in 1996.

Krabbenhoft told employees in an email that he believes he's now immune to COVID-19 for "at least seven months and perhaps years to come."

The Board of Trustees has appointed Bill Gassen president and CEO of Sanford Health. Bill has been with the organization since 2012, most recently serving as chief administrative officer. His appointment is effective immediately.

“Bill is the right person to lead Sanford Health through these unprecedented times because of his substantial experience with many aspects of the organization and his deep commitment to our workforce,” said Teiken. “We’re extremely optimistic about having his steady hand at the wheel in partnership with our existing leadership team.”

Gassen began his career at Sanford Health in 2012 as corporate counsel and transitioned to human resources two years later as vice president of human resource integration. He later served as chief human resources officer before his promotion to chief administrative officer.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to work on behalf of the Sanford family and help lead this organization and its life-changing work. Our system’s priorities will be focused on taking care of our people, our patients and the communities we serve,” said Gassen.

The executive leadership team of Executive Vice President Micah Aberson, Chief Medical Officer Allison Suttle, Chief Operating Officer Matt Hocks, Chief of Staff Nathan Peterson and Chief Finance Officer Bill Marlette, will continue to assist with the duties of overseeing the organization. 

Sanford Health is a rural nonprofit health system that spans 26 states and 10 countries.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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Dean Welte

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