Bellin President/CEO George Kerwin to Retire

Chris Woleske named new President/CEO

The Bellin Health System Board of Directors announced today that George Kerwin will retire as President/CEO of the System later this year. The Board has selected Chris Woleske to be the next President/CEO. Woleske is currently Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Bellin Health.

“Over the past three years, we’ve been working on a succession plan knowing that, at some point, George would decide to retire,” explained Bellin Health Board Chairman Terry Fulwiler. “He let us know early this year he would be stepping down at the end of 2018. As we reviewed our plans and discussed whether or not to do an outside search for his replacement, we kept coming back to our belief that the best person for the job was already at Bellin, and that is Chris Woleske.”

Woleske has been with Bellin Health in a variety of roles since 1998, becoming Executive Vice president and COO in 2016. During her tenure she led the acquisition of several specialty practices including Cardiology Associates, Gastroenterology Associates and NEW ENT; led expansion of Bellin Health services in Oconto, Wisconsin and Marinette, Wisconsin and was instrumental in the development of Bellin Health Titletown Sports Medicine & Orthopedics.

Prior to joining Bellin, she was an attorney at the law firm of Liebmann, Conway, Olejniczak & Jerry, S.C. A graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program, Woleske earned her Doctor of Law (J.D.) degree from Marquette University Law School and has a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration from UW-Eau Claire.

“Being part of the Bellin team and working closely with George has been a tremendous opportunity for me,” Woleske said. “I look forward to continuing the strong leadership that George has demonstrated and continue to work toward the Bellin mission to improve the health and wellbeing of every person in our region.”

George Kerwin has had a long and successful career at Bellin Health. Joining the organization in 1971, he worked his way up through the system, starting as director of housekeeping and admissions. He became senior vice president and COO in 1986 before becoming president and chief executive officer in 1992. Kerwin is highly regarded in the healthcare industry and considered a pioneer in the high quality-low cost healthcare movement. 

During his tenure, Bellin experienced unparalleled growth including development of the region’s premier heart & vascular program, creation of the Bellin Health Foundation, the addition of Bellin Psychiatric Center, Oconto Hospital & Medical Center, Bellin FastCare and much more. 

“It will be difficult to leave this healthcare system after being part of such a tremendous period of growth,” Kerwin said. “But I leave knowing that Bellin Health is in good hands with Chris in the lead role and a strong leadership team that’s in place.”

Fulwiler adds, “What really stands out to many people, including me, is his deep and abiding commitment to improving healthcare in the communities we serve. He truly cares about people, whether it’s employees, his leadership team, our patients or the community at large. His impact has been immense and very positive.”

Woleske will officially take over the reins of Bellin Health on October 1, 2018.