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Sep 30, 12:34 PM EDT

Key University of Iowa health care leader to step down



IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- A powerful University of Iowa administrator who has helped build and manage its sprawling health care enterprise announced plans Friday to step down.

University vice president Jean Robillard said he will resign his role in which he serves as dean of the medical school and top administrator for the school's hospital and clinics network.

While the announcement caught some employees by surprise, university spokesman Tom Moore said Robillard's decision was "completely voluntary."

He said Robillard, 72, plans to stay on until a successor or successors are named and then move to a faculty position in pediatrics. The university hasn't made a decision on whether to hire one or two people to replace Robillard, who wants to ensure an orderly transition, Moore said.

Robillard, who has a salary of $757,000, served as interim university president last year for about four months following Sally Mason's departure. He also played a key role in the search that led to the hiring of businessman Bruce Harreld as university president - a process that critics said was engineered to favor Harreld.

During his decade leading UI Health Care as vice president for medical affairs, Robillard has overseen the opening of several new clinics, the establishment of a major biomedical research facility and the construction of a $360 million children's hospital. He also managed the integration of the medical school, the hospital system and the medical practice owned by university doctors into a combined enterprise.

In a statement, Harreld said that UI Health Care has "thrived under Jean's leadership" by educating the next generation of doctors and scientists, delivering top-notch care for patients and researching key medical questions.

"He leaves a strong legacy that will have a lasting impact on the institution and on the health care landscape of this state for generations to come," Harreld said.

Robillard said that leading UI Health Care was the "absolute high point of my career" and that he was proud of its achievements.

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