Two local business leaders have taken over key positions within Akron General Health System.

Mark S. Lerner, president of GOJO Industries in Akron, recently became chairman of the Akron General Health System board.

The nonprofit health system is one of Akron’s largest private employers, with about 5,300 employees.

Along with the flagship Akron General Medical Center, the health system includes Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Institute, Lodi Community Hospital, Visiting Nurse Service and Affiliates, the Health & Wellness centers, the physician group and other outpatient locations.

Bill Frantz, president of Sandridge Food Corp. in Medina, is taking over as chairman of the board for Akron General Hospitals, which oversees the health system’s three hospitals: Akron General, Edwin Shaw and Lodi.

The board chair positions are uncompensated, with up to two one-year terms.

“I think that Akron General is an important asset for the communities that we serve,” Lerner said. “I feel a stewardship responsibility, not just to the health system but to all the communities that we serve.”

Lerner said the priorities under his leadership will be to “passionately pursue excellence” in customer service and develop strong partnerships with doctors, distinctive value for patients and positive operating margins for the business.

“Given the challenging nature of health care, not just in our region but in the United States, it’s absolutely critical that we don’t rely on yesterday’s strategies and yesterday’s successes alone,” Lerner said. “We have to be nimble and agile and look to these unchartered waters and figure out how to thrive and sustain the kinds of service we provide into the future.”

Those goals fall within a strategic plan the health system began implementing last year, before the sudden departure of former President and Chief Executive Vincent J. McCorkle for health reasons.

Longtime Akron General physician and leader Dr. Thomas “Tim” Stover took over as president and chief executive earlier this year.

Under Stover, Akron General has been focused on “patient satisfaction and great outcomes,” Frantz said.

“Tim’s such a great guy,” Frantz said. “He bleeds Akron General Medical Center. Tim has been with the hospital so long that he knows every intricacy of the hospital. He knows the docs, he knows the nurses, he knows the staff. He’s probably got the greatest passion.”

Lerner has been active with several Akron General boards for about 10 years.

Frantz has served on Akron General boards for about seven years.

Frantz and his sisters were born at Akron General, where his mother, Eleanor, volunteered with the women’s board.

He said he decided to take the leadership role because “if I’m going to be on a board, I want to make an impact.”

In the coming years, Akron General will continue to focus on creating “centers of excellence,” such as its developing Neuroscience Institute, Frantz said.

“Improving patient care is the goal,” he said.

All three hospitals have positive operating margins, even though reduced payments and the increased number of uninsured patients are being seen everywhere, he said.

“It’s not just about cutting expenses,” he said. “It’s about doing things better and more efficiently.”

Other board chairs within Akron General Health System include:

• Mark Mosley, Akron regional manager for Huntington Wealth Advisors — Akron General Foundation.

• Anthony Tricomi, president and chief executive of PFI Displays Inc. — Akron General Partners.

• Charles Billow, president of the Billow Co. — Community Health Ventures Inc.

• Michael Gallucci, president of the Cornerstone Co. — Partners Physician Group.

• The Rev. Sandy Selby of the Furnace Mission — Hospice Care Ohio.

Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or cpowell@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.