AZ Leadership: Robert L. “Bob” Meyer

Last month, Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH) was ranked in 10 out of 10 specialties for “Best Children’s Hospitals” according to U.S. News & World Report. One out of only 23 children’s hospitals to make the list in all ten specialties this year, this is the eighth consecutive year that PCH is named as a Best Children’s Hospital.  Their continued success has been under the leadership of President and CEO Robert L. “Bob” Meyer.

Meyer considers the national rankings among his proudest moments, “It’s that recognition of your peers that we are rapidly moving into the top of children’s hospitals. We’ve had a plan and we’re seeing it come to life. All the stuff that gets you those rankings is done every day by our nurses, doctors, people on the floor. It’s their award. They’ve done outstanding work.”

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Meyer grew up in the midwest learning a strong work ethic, integrity and honesty from his father. Meyer then went to the University of Michigan where he got his degree in Business Administration. So how did this business man get into the world of healthcare? Due to limited job offerings in his hometown, Meyer says he saw an opening at Blue Cross Blue Shield. “My first job out of college was working for Blue Cross as a medicare auditor so there was no grandiose design to be in healthcare. I just got into the industry very early. But I liked it, I understood it, and have been passionate about it.”

After working as a controller and chief financial officer  for different medical campuses, Meyer spent 18 years as a partner at Ernst & Young working as a consultant for strategic planning in the healthcare industry. Enter Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Meyer was sought after to help the hospital stabilize and turn around their financial situation. And he did.

After moving out to Arizona in 2003 for the position, Meyer has been able to see the unique culture for doing business in the state. “The business climate itself in Arizona is quite good. We have significant joint ventures with Mayo, ASU, TGen, so if you look at it, it’s a very collaborative culture which is not usually the case.”

PCH has grown from 1,200 employees to 4,500 employees during the CEO’s 14 years at the hospital. Meyer attributes that to the ability to recruit and attract people from all over the country to Arizona. He says that the hospital continues to look to expand.

Reflecting on his career, Meyer’s words of wisdom to anyone who looks to start or operate a business would be, “Don’t run out of cash. Way too many people get into businesses without a firm understanding of what the economic requirements are going to be. Running out of money is a bad thing because you end up selling your vision, selling your company because you need cash. So I think a well thought out entry is probably the single biggest thing.”

Morgan Carr

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