Alberta Health Services names new president, CEO

Alberta Health Services has named a new president and CEO, it said Thursday.

This comes nearly two years after the firing of Dr. Verna Yiu, who came into the role in 2016 and led AHS through the COVID-19 pandemic.

She was abruptly let go 14 months ahead of the expiration of her contract.

Mauro Chies, then the vice-president in charge of Cancer Care Alberta, was appointed to take her place.

Later that year, following the election of Premier Danielle Smith and the UCP, the entire AHS board was let go, and Dr. John Cowell was appointed full-time official administrator.

Chies and Cowell worked closely on a number of initiatives before AHS announced on Nov. 16 that several members of the agency’s executive leadership team were no longer in their roles, including Chies.

Now, a new person is stepping into the role — Athana Mentzelopoulos will take over as AHS CEO and president starting Dec. 11.

The province says she has “two decades of public sector leadership experience.”

Her most recent role was executive director of the Alberta Medical Association (AMA), which began on Oct. 1, 2023.

The AMA congratulated it’s former CEO in a statement posted to social media.

“The AMA is sorry to see her go and our loss is definitely AHS’ gain,” it said. “We look forward to working with her and believe that her AMA sojourn can only assist with her mandate.

“We expect she will continue to demonstrate an understanding of the healthcare system and consider the needs of physicians and other health professions as we care for Albertans within AHS.”

Mentzelopoulos also had a short stint as Alberta’s EMS Provisional Lead earlier this year, as well as advisor to AHS’ official administrator.

“On behalf of Alberta Health Services, I welcome Athana to the organization,” Dr. Lyle Oberg, who became AHS Executive Board Chair on Nov. 8, said in a statement. “She has a long history of public service leadership here in Canada.

“I look forward to working with her to support staff through the healthcare system refocus efforts underway, while keeping to AHS’ mandate of delivering high quality health services to all Albertans.”

According to her biography on the Alberta Medical Association’s website, Mentzelopoulos also served as deputy minister of the Treasury Board and Finance in both Alberta and B.C. and has also served in deputy minister roles in the B.C. ministries of intergovernmental relations, government communications, tourism, skills training and labour, and in many senior roles in the federal government.

She holds an Honours BA in political science and economics from Carleton University and an MA in contemporary social and political thought from the University of Victoria.

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