McCracken, Atlantic’s new board chair, says pandemic strengthened importance of giving back

Atlantic also names Rothschild vice chair, welcomes Liburd, Orduña, Wilson as new trustees

With decades of public service and board work on his resume, Robert McCracken has come to appreciate — and help facilitate — the various efforts organizations can make to help improve their communities.

But, when he saw how Atlantic Health System stepped up during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic — efforts that continue today — he was even more proud to say he was a member of the health system’s board of trustees.

“Atlantic handled that to the highest perfection, providing the highest quality of care for our patients during the pandemic,” he said.

“It’s so important to make healthier communities when you have the opportunity, as a volunteer, to be able to give your economic resources and your time to improve the communities you live in, in some small way,” McCracken said.

“The way Atlantic rose to the challenge of saving lives and being there for the community when we were needed most, just confirmed everything a volunteer board can do. It only strengthened my desire to continue to give back to the community even more because of everything that we, as a society, have gone through.”

McCracken, who has been a member of the Atlantic Health board since 2011, now is able to do more.

Gita Rothschild. (Atlantic Health System)

Earlier this week, McCracken was named the new chairman of the board of trustees for Atlantic Health. Gita Rothschild, who has served on the board since 2010, was named vice chair.

They will be joined by three new trustees: Jeanine Liburd, Arthur Orduña and Dennis Wilson.

Outgoing Chair Dexter Earle praised the selection of McCracken as his successor.

“I cannot imagine a better choice to take the helm at this stage of Atlantic Health’s journey to value-based care than Bob McCracken,” he said. “His invaluable years of service as governance chair and trustee enabled us to transition to a competency-based board composition, which has elevated our strategies for making care more accessible and affordable for all.”

After joining the Atlantic Board in 2011, McCracken advanced the system’s mission to build healthier communities through his longstanding service as chair of the board’s Governance Committee and as an Executive Committee member.

McCracken is the former chair of the Newton Memorial Hospital board. Following Newton’s merger with Atlantic Health, he became chair of the Newton Medical Center advisory board. He sits on the board of directors of Lakeland Bank Corp. Inc. and is chair of its Executive Compensation Committee and former chair of its Nominating and Governance committees.

He is the former owner and acting manager of Smith-McCracken and Wood funeral homes.

McCracken said he sees the role as one of a consultant — someone working to keep the system headed in the right direction without being involved in its day-to-day operation.

“I believe in strategic guidance, but not getting in the weeds,” he said. “From a governance standpoint, I believe in financial oversight. Board members need to be good financial stewards, and we need to ensure succession planning throughout the organization.”

McCracken spelled out some areas of emphasis, too.

“I see quality and patient and family satisfaction as a priority — as well as diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives,” he said. “We need to pursue smart growth, we need to improve access and affordability of health care, and we need to have a little innovation and digital transformation, so patients can connect seamlessly to our organization.”

Rothschild, through her longstanding service as chair of the board’s Quality Committee, has enthusiastically pursued her passion for advancing clinical quality and patient safety. She also has also served as a member of the board’s Executive, Medical Staff Leadership & Development, and Governance committees.

A partner at McCarter & English for 33 years, Rothschild practiced in areas of complex litigation, including insurance coverage, class actions, products liability and commercial contracts.

Atlantic Health System CEO Brian Gragnolati praised Rothschild for her efforts.

“Our work in health care is founded upon an unwavering commitment to the highest quality care and patient safety,” he said. “No one is more passionate in her advocacy on these issues than Gita Rothschild.

“We are very fortunate that she devotes her time and talent to helping us deliver safe, high-quality care to our friends and neighbors.”

Gragnolati also praised the efforts of Earle, who served as Atlantic Health’s chair since 2018.

Jeanine Liburd, from left, Arthur Orduña and Dennis Wilson. (Atlantic Health System)

Since joining the board in 2009, Earle has played a critical role in driving performance and growth, including expansion to more than 400 sites of care, seven hospitals, 16 urgent care centers and one of New Jersey’s largest multispecialty physician practices.

Earle is a retired partner at Goldman Sachs, where he served as co-head of the Global Equities Derivatives Department.

“Our entire system of care has been strengthened by Dexter’s commitment to quality, sound counsel and strategic leadership,” Gragnolati said. “We are grateful his ongoing service as immediate past chair gives us the opportunity to continue to benefit from his wisdom and passion for improving the health of our community.”

Here’s a look at the three new trustees:

  • Jeanine Liburd: She is the chief social impact and communications officer for BET Networks, a unit of ViacomCBS Inc., the leading provider of quality entertainment for the African American audience and consumers of Black culture globally. An innovative strategic communications, marketing and social impact professional with over two decades of corporate, political and nonprofit experience, Liburd leads a portfolio of multiplatform social change initiatives that empower BET Networks’ audience to have an impact on critical issues facing the Black community.
  • Arthur Orduña: He currently is a senior adviser to Newlab, an award-winning disruptive technology accelerator in Brooklyn, and also to EQT, a leading European private equity firm. Until November 2020, he served as the first chief innovation officer and executive vice president of Avis Budget Group, a leading global provider of mobility solutions, operating three of the industry’s most recognized brands — Avis, Budget and Zipcar — with 11,000 locations in nearly 180 countries, 30,000 employees and reported 2019 revenue of $9.17 billion.
  • Dennis Wilson: He is CEO and president of Delta Dental of New Jersey. He joined the Atlantic Health board in November 2020 and serves on its Quality and Governance committees. Wilson was formerly president of Coventry Health Care, an Aetna Company, and served as national lead for high performance network and accountable care organization business development for Coventry Health Care. He serves as chair of DeltaUSA’s board of trustees and on the board of Encara Inc., and as vice president and trustee of the Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation. He is immediate past chair of Community Foundation of New Jersey and a trustee of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

“Our competency-based board composition enables us to bring targeted expertise and experience into our system’s highest levels of governance and strategy creation,” Gragnolati said.

“We are delighted to welcome Dennis, Arthur and Jeanine to the Atlantic Health family and look forward to working closely with them to hone our consumerism and insurance strategies to support the health and well-being of every patient who entrusts us with their care.”