Starkman: Beaumont’s John Fox Set to Unload Historic Bloomfield Hills Estate on Friday

March 30, 2021, 6:32 PM

The columnist, a Los Angeles freelancer, is a former Detroit News business reporter who blogs at Starkman Approved.

By Eric Starkman

Pandemic, Shmandemic. Life is peachy for Beaumont Health CEO John Fox, the Georgia carpetbagger profiting handsomely running Michigan’s biggest hospital network into the ground.

Beaumont CEO John Fox

Deadline Detroit has confirmed that Fox and his wife Julie are set to close Friday on the sale of their historic Bloomfield Hills estate, a five-bedroom, nine baths, Tudor built by philanthropist George Booth situated on 2.53 acres near Cranbrook. The to-die-for property has been on and off the market since Sept. 30, 2019, initially listed for $2.97 million, reduced on May 28 to $2.74 million, and reduced again on October 28 to $2.49 million.

What the Foxes fetched for their estate isn’t yet publicly known.

The Foxes bought the Bloomfield Hills property for $2.45 million on April 23, 2015, one month after John Fox became CEO of Beaumont. As of this writing, a virtual tour of the abode of the CEO of Michigan’s biggest “nonprofit” hospital company can be seen here.

Don’t worry about John and Julie being homeless. They own homes in Atlanta and North Carolina, respectively valued at more than $3 million and $2 million. Sources say Julie Fox doesn’t like Michigan and doesn’t live in the Bloomfield Hills home.

Similarity and Big Difference

The Fox estate

Interestingly, George Booth was Canadian born, as was John Fox (and yours truly). However, Booth is remembered for his great Southeastern Michigan philanthropy, while Fox will be remembered as the executive responsible for destroying Beaumont’s reputation as one of the top regional hospitals in the country.

Under Fox’s watch, Beaumont has seen the exodus of more than a dozen world-class surgeons, half of the anesthesiologists at its flagship Royal Oak hospital, more than 50 nurse anesthetists and countless nurses.

Meanwhile, Fox has pocketed more than $20 million in compensation. And he likely was showered with more moolah a couple of weeks ago.

Inside the Fox home

Beaumont typically pays executive bonuses on March 15 and indications are that Fox scored another bonanza for Beaumont’s 2020 performance. Despite the pandemic and Fox’s repeated warnings that hospitals would suffer severe economic hardships, Beaumont in 2020 nearly maintained its targeted four percent profit margin and managed to squirrel away an additional $1 billion in cash reserves.

Near End of Contract

Fox’s bonus won’t be disclosed until next year, when Beaumont will either be sold or when Fox will be near the end of his contract and he won’t care one iota about public outrage. It’s far from certain he even cares now, as he’s managed to keep his job despite a myriad of controversies and a survey last year revealing that the majority of Beaumont doctors had no trust or faith in his leadership.

Fox isn’t the only executive on his management team selling a home. Last summer CFO John Kerndl, Chief Human Resources Officer Aaron Gillingham, and Denise Waters, vice president of revenue cycle, sold their Michigan homes after Fox announced he planned to merge Beaumont into Chicago-based Advocate Aurora. The deal was slated to close in the fourth quarter but fell through after Rep. Andy Levin said he’d move to block the controversial merger, which would have allowed Advocate Aurora to acquire Beaumont without forking out a penny.  

Kerndl has since resigned and joined a Boston hospital. Speculation is that Waters, who is said to have had a close working relationship with Kerndl, will soon depart. Mark Bohen, Beaumont’s former chief marketing officer, resigned last summer and no CMO replacement has yet to be announced.

Beaumont COO Carolyn Wilson

COO Carolyn Wilson commutes from Grand Rapids, where her husband works full time. It’s my understanding that Jane Jordan, Beaumont’s chief legal counsel, and Susan Grant, Beaumont’s chief nursing officer, have their primary homes in Atlanta.

There you have it. Michigan’s biggest hospital network is run by a team of executives with no ties or commitment to the Detroit area. Little wonder that Beaumont is a mere shadow of its once vaunted reputation under their leadership.

They won’t be looking to Beaumont for the medical care of their families.

Reach Eric Starkman at: Beaumont employees and vendors are encouraged to reach out, with confidentiality assured.

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