Q&A with Northside Hospitals Robert Quattrocchi, 2017 Most Admired CEO

Atlanta Business Chronicle in July named our list of Atlanta’s Most Admired CEOs of 2017. They were honored on Aug. 24 at an awards event at The Foundry at Puritan Mill. Here’s a Q&A with one of the honorees, Robert Quattrocchi, president and CEO of Northside Hospital:

Q: What are the keys to CEOs building a high level of trust in their organizations?

A: Northside fosters trust through our extraordinary medical and administrative leaders.

The key is to always nurture an environment of trust. Employees need to feel that, and when they do, they contribute to that environment. Trust means everything in the health care world. The relationships between physicians and patients are built on it.

Q: Please tell us what leadership and being a leader means to you.

A: I think that leadership is the core and the expectation of any organization. You see many styles of leadership; but regardless of how it’s done, it’s always the basis for success. It’s not so much me being that leader – the leadership team that surrounds me is the most critical.

Q: Who is a favorite leader you admire, and why?

A: Don Keough, the former president and COO of Coca-Cola. I spent some time with him when I was in graduate school. His employees admired him because he respected them. Mr. Keough believed in the culture of respect, and I’ve never forgotten that.

Q: Please explain how you and your organization make tough decisions.

A: In health care, all decisions are important. Our physicians and nurses do it 24 hours a day. I find it remarkable how well they use their knowledge, passion and dedication to help our patients and families. What I do as CEO is easy compared to the decisions they face, and the incredible ways they manage them.

Q: Please give some details about one of your top accomplishments of the past year that you are most proud of.

A: On the patient care side, Northside had more than 2.5 million patient encounters in the past year. I am proud of the care all these patients received from our physicians, nurses, and techs. In my view, their service is second to none. On the growth side, Northside opened our replacement hospital in Cherokee County. We also opened new patient floors at our Forsyth hospital, opened our Northside East Cobb Medical Center, began construction of the Northside Midtown Medical Center, and began construction of a new patient tower at our Sandy Springs campus.


Q: How is your organization changing or adapting to prepare for the future?

A: Health care is evolving as quickly as any industry. Many factors affect that evolution. What we know is that the need for health care is ubiquitous. It’s a part of everyone’s lives. Northside thinks about this 24 hours a day, and we have teams that constantly assess all the moving parts of health care. But the patient comes first, and all our planning and preparations revolve around that goal.

Q: What top piece of advice would you share with other CEOs?

A: Have faith in your management team, and in the employees who work with them. Give your leadership team the autonomy and the resources to do their jobs, and to do them well. While you don’t want to over-manage or micro-manage, always be sure that their activities sync up with the organization’s mission.

Q: What is one of the best books you’ve read recently, and why?

A: “Einstein: His Life and Universe,” by Walter Isaacson. When you read this book, you totally understand why Albert Einstein changed the world. He never accepted common knowledge as fact. He constantly challenged traditional models, believed by most people, and often proved them to be erroneous. He had an inquisitive personality and great courage.