Helmy headed to RWJBarnabas Health; will serve as chief external affairs and policy officer

George Helmy, the governor’s chief of staff who is highly respected in both the political and business worlds, is headed to RWJBarnabas Health, where he will serve as executive vice president, chief external affairs and policy officer, the system announced Friday.

Helmy, who announced earlier this week that he is leaving the administration, will begin his new role at the start of October.

In his new role, Helmy will oversee RWJBarnabas Health’s interactions with all federal, state and local governments, governmental agencies and associates, chiefly managing regulatory issues and developing and executing cross-divisional governmental relations strategies. Helmy also will serve as a key senior strategic adviser on policy matters, as well as the health system’s relationships with key external stakeholders.

RWJBH CEO Mark Manigan said Helmy is the perfect fit to help guide the health system, one of the two major systems in the state.

“I can think of no more respected policy leader in our region than George Helmy, and we are incredibly pleased to have him join our team,” Manigan said. “His depth of knowledge on a wide variety of issues facing our state is unparalleled, and we recognize that his contributions to advancing our mission of service to our patients and community will be significant.”

Helmy’s ability to operate in both political and business circles made him a key adviser and confidant to Gov. Phil Murphy since assuming the role of chief of staff in January 2019. Earlier this week, Murphy credited Helmy for much of his success as governor.

“I don’t know where we would be without George,” Murphy said. “Simply put, you cannot write the history of our administration without recognizing George’s singular role in leading our team for over four and a half years.

“His unique mix of public- and private-sector experience, strong management skills and deep relationships across the political spectrum made him uniquely capable to excel in this job. From managing our all-of-government response to a once-in-a-century pandemic to driving nearly every single one of our legislative goals to completion, George has put his heart and soul into serving the people of New Jersey.”

Helmy seemingly will serve just as many people at RWJBH.

The system employs more than 38,000 — making it one of the largest private employers in the state — and its service area covers eight counties and more than 5 million people.

RWJBH has 12 acute care hospitals, three acute care children’s hospitals, Children’s Specialized Hospital with a network of outpatient pediatric rehabilitation centers, a freestanding 100-bed behavioral health center, two trauma centers and the state’s largest behavioral health network, among other services.

In addition, RWJBarnabas Health has an affiliation with Rutgers University to create New Jersey’s largest academic health care system. The collaboration aligns RWJBarnabas Health with Rutgers’ education, research and clinical activities, including those at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care.

Before becoming the governor’s chief of staff, Helmy served as state director to U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), serving on the senator’s senior staff and overseeing the day-to-day operations of his New Jersey offices. Prior to that, he worked as the senator’s state office deputy chief of staff for two years.

Helmy, who also has worked in the private sector with two Fortune 100 companies, served as an aide to the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, handling issues such as gun safety and financial affairs.

A native of Jersey City, Helmy received his Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University and master’s degree from Harvard University.