Neal Patterson, chairman and CEO, passed away on July 9, 2017, due to unexpected complications that arose after a recent recurrence of a previously disclosed cancer. Cerner Co-Founder and Vice Chairman of the Board Cliff Illig has been named chairman and interim CEO.
In the 38 years since co-founding Cerner, Illig has served as Patterson's partner and close advisor, including decades spent as Cerner's president and chief operating officer.
"This is a profound loss. Neal and I have been partners and collaborators for nearly 40 years, and friends for longer than that," Illig said. "Neal loved waking up every morning at the intersection of health care and IT. His entrepreneurial passion for using IT as a lever to eliminate error, variance, delay, waste and friction changed our industry."
The Cerner Board of Directors has had a longstanding succession plan in place. The process to select a new CEO is nearing a conclusion.
"One of Neal's enduring ambitions for Cerner was to build a visionary company, not just a company with a visionary," said Illig. "He has done that. We have what I believe is the best management team in health IT, and we have associates who think as much about the future as they do the present. As a result, Cerner is well-positioned to have a pioneering impact on the provision of health care in the years to come."