Name: David Cox

Title: Chief Financial Officer

Company: Marin General Hospital and Marin Healthcare District

Company address: 250 Bon Air Road, Greenbrae, CA 94904

Phone: 415-464-2090

Website: www.maringeneral.org

Number of company employees: 1,500

Professional background: Certified Public Accountant

Education: BS Accounting, Loyola Marymount; Master of Business Administration, University of Dayton

Age: 57

What do you see as the essential role of a financial leader in the current environment?

Fundamentally, we are about providing value to the community.  We have to address a variety of issues that affect access to care, infrastructure investments, investments in programs and services and current operating needs.  Our role is to balance these demands in a manner that meets community needs and provides a cost effective healthcare delivery system.

What are the biggest changes you've seen in your industry?

The technological and IT changes in healthcare are continuous and fascinating, and one of the most interesting aspects of this particular industry.  However, the biggest change is the restructure of the financing mechanisms for healthcare that is currently taking place, which will drive changes in the way healthcare is delivered in the future.

Tell us about the particular challenges and opportunities your organization has met in the recent past?

Our organization has just successfully achieved a unique challenge, bringing a community hospital out of a large system and converting it to an organization that is focused on providing value to the community.  This was an enormous undertaking, requiring the replacement of all contracts and the hospital’s complete information system.  We have hit the ground running at full speed, have achieved terrific support from our medical staff and the community, and are well along toward meeting our strategic objectives.

What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?

This is just such an exciting time for young leaders to enter the field.  The advice that I would give to is to try to gain broad exposure to the mechanics of running a health care organization, and to focus on providing value -- exceptional care, new technology, and cost effectiveness.

What's the best advice for weathering today's economic environment?

We are certainly living in interesting times, but I believe that the constant should be a continuous focus on improvement in all areas of the business.  In order to survive, organizations need to remain cost effective and provide increasing levels of value to their communities.

How do you think your business will change in the next five years?

Health care is likely to be driven by the quality improvement and cost initiatives that are contained in the ARRA regulations.  Hospitals will be paid based on the actual quality provided, implementation of an integrated IT system is mandated, and physicians and hospitals will increasingly function as a single organization.

What is a decision you wish you hadn't made? What did you learn from it?

I honestly don’t have any regrets about decisions that I’ve made, although there have certainly been learning experiences.  I think that if people focus on doing the right thing for the community -- if you are in Rotary as I am, the 4 Way Test -- then you can’t go too wrong.

What is your most memorable business experience?

The experience that our team has just accomplished, essentially bringing up from scratch the infrastructure required to run a hospital, and in a somewhat uncooperative environment, has to be at the top of the list.

What is your greatest business success?

The achievement of which I am most proud is the number of professionals that I have mentored who have gone on to leadership positions with other healthcare organizations.  The development of others is the most enjoyable part of my job.

What was your toughest business decision?

The toughest decisions that I’ve made are those to not fund programs that, although admirable, are not fundamentally related to the mission of the organizations that I’ve been associated with.  There are tremendous needs in our society, but I believe that healthcare organizations need to remain focused on providing value -- exceptional care, access, and cost effectiveness.

What would your friends be surprised to find out about you?

Most people say that they are surprised that I’m not a “typical” CFO, whatever that means.  More importantly, three grandchildren, so far.

Most admired businessperson outside the company: Lloyd Dean, of Catholic Healthcare West -- great sense of humor, has the right values, and a terrific vision.

Current reading: I like to read history and am currently reading Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, which is a fascinating book about the leadership skills of Abraham Lincoln.

Most want to meet: Jerry Brown, Governor of California.

Stress relievers: Yoga, friends, good wine.

Favorite activities outside work: Reading, golf, Rotary Club of Mission San Rafael.

Is there anything we may have missed that you would like to add?

Thank you so much for this honor.