The news of the pending retirement of Catholic Medical Center’s Dr. Joseph Pepe is bittersweet. He richly deserves time to spend with his family and we wish him all the best, but his departure (next June) will be a big loss for CMC.
That is no reflection on his able successor, Alex Walker, who has been at Pepe’s side as chief operating officer. The two have worked in tandem, knowing that whenever Pepe stepped down, Walker was ready to step up.
Walker’s background as a lawyer will serve him well as CMC walks the increasingly complicated and competitive business of hospitals and healthcare in the 21st century. It doesn’t hurt, either, that Walker is a U.S. Marine veteran.
But Dr. Pepe is that rare breed of medical doctor who is as comfortable and competent as a hospital CEO as he had been as a family-practice physician. He brought a patient-first mentality to CMC that remains evident today.
Dr. Pepe has also worked diligently and honestly to maintain the Catholic precepts that have underlined CMC for much of the time since Notre Dame and Sacred Heart hospitals merged a half-century ago.
Pepe’s quiet leadership has been integral to CMC’s success. We wish Alex Walker the best in maintaining it.