HBI Deals+Insights / News

Finland’s largest university hospital appoints CEO from the for-profit sector

Matti Bergendahl, the former CEO of Mehilainen and Ambea has been appointed as CEO of Helsinki University Hospital (HUS), despite having just 20 months of employment in the public sector in his entire career.

Bergendahl, a former BCG consultant,spent 12 years at Mehilainen, the big private equity backed health care services group. More recently he has spent 20 months as CEO of the South West hospital region.

A spokesperson at HUS said: “We have had previous CEOs from the private sector, including one who wasn’t a doctor and had never worked in healthcare before!” She said that the appointment was made by the Council which is made up of 55 politicians from Helsinki municipalities. She said there had been a close competition and added that normally politicians voted on left/right lines but that this is not always the case. She added that doctors at the hospital would be unlikley to have a problem with Bergendahl’s appointment as he trained as a doctor.

Our Analysis: It would be unthinkable for someone from the private sector to take up such a position in the UK, Germany or France! But Bergendahl probably brings a range of skills in terms of management and finance which will enable HUS to really execute strategy well. HUS with revenue of EUR2.7bn in 2020 is by far the largest university hospital in Finland with 3m patient visits in 2020 and many national responsibilities for rare conditions and complex treatments. That makes it one of the largest university hospitals in Europem, on a par with Charite in Berlin or Guys and St Thomas in London.

We would welcome your thoughts on this story. Email your views to Max Hotopf or call 0207 183 3779.