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Thursday, November 9, 2000


Top management
to change at Queen’s

A doctor will become
president and CEO

By Russ Lynch

Two top executives of Queen's Health Systems will leave at the end of this year and replacements have been chosen, the state's largest diversified health care company announced.

Queen's Medical Center Richard L. Griffith, president and CEO, is retiring to be replaced by Dr. Gary O. Okamoto, who has practiced medicine in Hawaii since 1983. Okamoto has been a trustee of the Queen's Health Systems since 1996 and medical director of the Queen's Medical Center rehabilitation center since 1986.

In addition, Robert H. Ozaki, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Queen's, is leaving the company. He is being replaced by Tracy Timothy Woo, an attorney and general counsel at the Queen Emma Foundation subsidiary .

Okamoto's specialty is physiatry, which Queen's said is the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation. "This is an opportunity for me to bring my understanding of health and health care as a practicing physician to the leadership team and governance of one of Hawaii's oldest and largest social institutions," Okamoto said in a statement from the company.

He said he will continue to serve patients on a limited basis "to keep in touch with what issues concern people."

Woo joined the foundation as a staff attorney in 1995, after serving as a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and as an attorney with the law firm of Dwyer Imanaka Schraff Kudo Meyer and Fujimoto. He was named corporate counsel at Queen Emma Foundation in 1997 and general counsel in 1998.

Griffith, who has said for some time that he wanted to retire, became president of Queen's Health Systems in 1993. After working as an attorney with Cades Schutte Fleming & Wright since 1960, he became chairman of Amfac Hawaii in 1985. He left in 1990, when that business was acquired by Chicago-based JMB Realty Inc. He served as a board member of several Queen's operations for some years before taking the executive post.

Ozaki was an executive vice president at Amfac Hawaii's parent Amfac Inc. before joining Queen's in 1992. In addition to overseeing its investments and operations, he ran three of its for-profit operations as chairman, president and CEO of Queen's Development Corp., chairman of Diagnostic Laboratory Services Inc. and president and CEO of Queen Emma Corp.

Robert C. Oshiro, Queen's Health Systems chairman, said Griffith and Ozaki "put a lot of themselves into furthering the Queen's mission during a very volatile period for health care."

Recent years have been especially volatile at Queen's. Hurt in part by reduced federal payments for Medicare, the medical center has trimmed roughly 460 positions, including nearly 200 layoffs, in the past four years. The center also recorded an operating loss of about $10 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Queen's Health Systems has 15 subsidiaries, led by the Queen's Medical Center, founded in 1859, Queen's Development Corp. and Molokai General Hospital.

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