Bill Marra will assume the position of CEO of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare as of Saturday

The new President and CEO of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare will take office earlier than planned.

The Board of Directors of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH) announced on November 1 that Janice Kaffer, President and CEO, will be retiring and that Bill Marra, Vice President of Human Resources, Mission , Communications and General Hospital Affairs, would take over.

While the transition was scheduled for March 31, 2022 at the latest, the Board of Directors made the decision to bring forward the scheduled transition to Saturday, January 1.

Over the next few months, HDGH officials say Kaffer will support Marra and the board as an advisor.

“As Bill prepares to step into his new role as President and CEO, he speaks for our entire organization and community when he says Janice will be missed,” the statement read. “With an open door and a determined focus to upload our organization’s key values, there is tremendous confidence in the leadership HDGH will receive from Bill going forward.”

The hospital made the decision in an effort to “facilitate a single voice of leadership” in handling Omicron’s surge.

“I have a 40-year history with the hospital,” Marra said.

Marra was hired, at age 16, to work in the dietetics department, a job he says helped pay for his college education.

“It allowed me to pay for my education and support my family for a while because in the early 80’s the economy hit rock bottom in this community and I was in a good position to work and help support my family and my father who lost his job in the auto industry,” he says.

Marra then served for five years on the board of directors between 2003 and 2008. At that time, the hospital was under provincial supervision following the death of Lori Dupont inside the Ouellette site.

Marra is a former executive director of New Beginnings and a former city councilor in Windsor, until he joined HGDH as vice-president.

These difficult times, Marra says, in addition to nearly 25 years in leadership roles, have helped prepare him for this new challenge.

“I will continue to adhere, very strongly, to the principles of our founders, over 130 years ago,” he said. “The priority is our patients and our people.

Marra says they’re also slowly working on other “exciting” projects in development that he hopes can move forward when the pandemic subsides.

“We heard from the Prime Minister here a few months ago about moving 68 mental health beds to our campus,” he said. “We are preparing for this. We have had discussions with the ministry regarding our interest in building and operating a long-term care facility on our campus, these are still very preliminary discussions.

Marra says he has never been shy about taking over, during a pandemic, and plans to retire from Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, either in five or ten years.

“Not intimidated. Not worried,” Marra says. “Even with Janice Kaffer gone, she continues to be a mentor and support for me. I am really confident in the future we will succeed.

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