Gessner Tapped to Lead Akron Children’s Hospital

AKRON, Ohio — Christopher A. Gessner will succeed the retiring Grace Wakulchik as president and CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital, effective Oct. 18.

Gessner has been president and CEO of UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital since 2019 and spent nearly two decades in administrative roles at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, part of the UPMC Health System, including serving as president from 2008 to 2019. 

Wakulchik, president and CEO of Akron Children’s since 2018, had earlier shared her plans to retire at the end of 2021, following a 40-year career in health care. The Akron Children’s Board of Directors convened a search committee in April, and enlisted the services of an executive search firm to assist in the identification and evaluation of internal and external candidates. 

“The Board of Directors of Akron Children’s Hospital is grateful for the strong and steady leadership Grace Wakulchik has provided during her tenure, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, one of the most challenging times any hospital executive could face,” said John C. Orr, board chairman. “Even in the midst of those challenges, she continued to advance the hospital forward in exciting new ways.”

Gessner, a native of Ligonier, Pa., earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the College of William and Mary and his MBA and a master’s degree in health care administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

“I’m honored to join the Akron Children’s team and work alongside the talented staff, physicians and advanced practice providers to deliver world class care to the children of Northeast Ohio and beyond. The hospital is clearly part of the fabric of the many communities it serves, and I look forward to building on that strong sense of community engagement,” he says.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.