Warner Thomas

- Alumni; Online

 
Warner_Thomas
It's been a great foundation to build my career upon.
 
 

As president and chief operating officer of Ochsner Health System, Warner Thomas helped lead the prominent Louisiana health-care network through the tumult of Hurricane Katrina before spearheading its growth in the storm's wake.    

During Katrina and in its immediate aftermath, the health system’s flagship hospital, Ochsner Medical Center, was one of only three New Orleans hospitals to remain open. While its employees cared for thousands of patients, the health system provided housing, meals and child care for its workers. And despite losing $70 million in the months following Katrina, the system laid off no one and raised $3 million to help employees displaced by the storm restart their lives.

''Even though it was a financial drain, we did the right thing by standing by our employees and being there to take care of patients when they needed us most,'' says Thomas.

Since 2006, Ochsner has acquired five New Orleans-area hospitals and one in Baton Rouge, and today it is the largest private employer in Louisiana, Thomas says. With eight hospitals, 38 health centers and more than 13,000 employees, the system had total operating revenue of $1.8 billion in 2011. 

In May 2012, Ochsner named Thomas its CEO, effective Sept. 1. A bachelor of science degree in management advisory services from SNHU helped prepare him for business leadership, he says.  

''It's been a great foundation to build my career upon,'' Thomas says. ''The knowledge base I picked up in business and accounting has been critical to my success.''

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