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Dr. Steven Weiser out as Altru president in abrupt staff change

Announcement went out in an email to employees late Tuesday morning.

Altru Hospital
File photo of Altru Hospital. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS – Dr. Steven Weiser is no longer president of Altru Health System, employees were told via an internal company email shared with the Grand Forks Herald.

The abrupt change was announced to Altru staff shortly before noon Tuesday in a memo that also reminded employees of the upcoming arrival of Todd Forkel, the incoming CEO, on Feb. 28.

“These decisions have been made in the best interest of the organization,” said the email, signed by senior members of the Altru Board of Directors. “We are thankful for Dr. Weiser’s contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

The memo also noted that Joshua Deere will become Altru’s new chief medical officer — a position that had previously been unfilled.

“Recruitment for a new president will occur in the future,” the memo reads. “Altru will not immediately fill the position to allow a thoughtful review of the role.”

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Tuesday’s news marks the second time in roughly two years that high-profile executives at Altru have made a sudden exit. CEO Brad Wehe and CFO Sara Lusignan were fired by the health system’s board in February 2020.

RELATED: CEO, CFO both out in Altru Health System leadership shakeup

Annie Bonzer, a spokesperson for Altru Health System, said in an email the decision was “made in the best interest of the organization. As this is a personnel matter, it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

The email said Weiser "will be leaving the organization."

When the Herald asked if Weiser's separation was voluntary, Bonzer said it was the Altru Board of Directors’ decision.

“These changes are not related to Todd Forkel’s arrival,” she wrote, referring to Tuesday’s full announcement. “We are thrilled to welcome Todd to our executive team next week. He brings over 24 years of healthcare leadership experience to our community and is focused on continuing to support Altru in our commitment to high-quality healthcare for the residents we serve."

In a release sent to the media Tuesday afternoon, Karen Thingelstad, chair of Altru’s Board of Directors, said “we thank Dr. Weiser for his contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Weiser.jpg
Steven Weiser, MD, president of Altru Health System

Related Topics: ALTRU
Sam Easter is a freelance reporter who has been a regular contributor to the Herald since 2019. He covers a variety of topics, including government and politics.

In 2015, he joined the Herald’s staff as City Hall reporter, covering North Dakota politics at all levels and conducting Herald investigations through early 2018, when he began his freelancing career.

Easter can be reached at samkweaster@gmail.com or via Twitter via @samkweaster.
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