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Cleveland Clinic Chief of Staff Joseph Hahn, M.D., to Retire After 38 Years as a Neurosurgeon, Leader and Innovator

Brian Donley, M.D., Named New Chief of Staff

Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014

Cleveland Clinic Chief of Staff Joseph Hahn, M.D., will retire, effective Dec. 31, after nearly four decades as a neurosurgeon, leader and innovator.

Brian Donley, M.D., who currently serves as president of the community hospitals and family health centers, will assume the chief of staff position Jan. 1, 2015.

"It has been an honor and privilege to work alongside Joe,” said Toby Cosgrove, M.D., President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic. “As chief of staff, he has been a driving force in recruiting, managing and retaining an unparalleled staff to lead this organization through a time of unprecedented change. Joe has worked diligently to enhance communication with the professional staff, improve our leadership development, and expand opportunities for physician leadership. His commitment to championing a culture of teamwork will be his lasting legacy to our organization."

Dr. Hahn joined the Cleveland Clinic staff in 1976 in the Department of Neurosurgery, becoming chairman of the department in 1981. He was named chairman of the Division of Surgery in 1987 and served in that role until 2003, making him the longest serving Surgery Division chair in the organization’s history.

In 2003, Dr. Hahn launched Cleveland Clinic Innovations, establishing a means by which Cleveland Clinic doctors could commercialize their medical discoveries. In 2005, Dr. Cosgrove appointed him chief of staff.

"It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to spend my 38-year career at Cleveland Clinic,” Dr. Hahn said. “During the last nine years, I have had the unique opportunity to serve as chief of staff for one of the world's most innovative group of physicians. I leave knowing our legacy of teamwork will continue under Brian Donley's leadership."

Dr. Hahn will work closely with Dr. Donley over the next five months to ensure a smooth transition for this key leadership position in the organization.

"Brian’s training and experience in the Orthopaedic Institute, his role as an educator and innovator, and his recent regional administrative success make him uniquely qualified to lead as chief of staff," Dr. Cosgrove said.

Dr. Donley joined Cleveland Clinic’s Orthopaedic & Rheumatologic Institute in 1996, serving in various roles over the years, including vice chairman of the Department of Orthopaedics, director of the Foot and Ankle Center, director of the Foot and Ankle Fellowship, and director of Research and Education for Foot and Ankle Surgery.

In 2008 Dr. Donley established and chaired Cleveland Clinic’s Professional Conduct Committee, a role he held until August 2013. He served as president of Lutheran Hospital from January 2012 to October 2013, during which time he led Lutheran Hospital to a Press Ganey Commitment to Excellence Award for Patient Satisfaction and a No. 3 ranking as one of the safest hospitals in America by Consumers Report.

During fall 2013, Dr. Donley completed an eight-week Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. In January 2014, he began a new role as president of the eight Cleveland Clinic community hospitals and 16 family health centers throughout Northeast Ohio. He also maintains his role as professor of surgery in the Lerner College of Medicine.

"I have the utmost respect for Joe Hahn and I will honor his legacy by continuing to champion a culture of teamwork,” Dr. Donley said. “As chief of staff, my focus will continue to be on our shared responsibility to our patients, our caregivers and the communities we serve. I firmly believe that our guiding principles—respect, communication and truth—will build trust and inspire commitment."

About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S.News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. More than 3,000 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 11,000 nurses represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. The Cleveland Clinic health system includes a main campus near downtown Cleveland, eight community hospitals, more than 75 Northern Ohio outpatient locations, including 16 full-service Family Health Centers, Cleveland Clinic Florida, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Cleveland Clinic Canada, and, scheduled to begin seeing patients in 2015, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In 2012, there were 5.1 million outpatient visits throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 157,000 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 130 countries. Visit us at Follow us at


Heather Phillips, Cleveland Clinic, 216.312.3664,

Eileen Sheil, Cleveland Clinic, 216.444.8927,