Paul F. Levy

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Paul F. Levy is the former President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston and a resident of Newton, Massachusetts. A graduate of McBurney School in New York City, class of 1968, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, class of 1972. He is currently Senior Advisor at Lax Sebenius LLC, a negotiation consultancy firm. He is also Visiting Professor at the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London [1] and an Honorary Professor with the Australian Institute of Health Innovation in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. [2]

Levy assumed the position as President and CEO of BIDMC in 2002.[3] Levy was previously Executive Director of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, where he was famous for leading the "Boston Harbor Cleanup". He published a description of conditions that led to sewage treatment facilities failures he dubbed the Nut Island effect in 2001.[4] Levy also served as Chairman of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities and Executive Dean for Administration of Harvard Medical School.[5] He was a member of the MIT Corporation[6] and, until September 2017, the Board of ISO New England.[7] He is the co-author of Negotiating Environmental Agreements, 1999.[8]

In 2012, Levy published Goal Play! Leadership Lessons from the Soccer Field, a book that offers insights from sports, health care, business and government to help leaders get better outcomes. As a practical guide to improved leadership, the book highlights unconventional thinking and actions that can be used to bring about outstanding results.

In 2013, Levy published How A Blog Held Off the Most Powerful Union in America, presenting the story of how he used social media to fend off a corporate campaign by the Service Employees International Union.

In 2014, Levy and Farzana Mohamed published How to Negotiate Your First Job, a guide to young professionals entering the work force.

Levy is often invited by health care organizations throughout the world to give speeches on eliminating preventable harm, transparency of clinical outcomes, and front-line driven process improvement. He was invited to be a Thinker in Residence at Deakin University in Victoria, Australia, from November 2015 through March 2016.[9]


As CEO of BIDMC, Levy became one of the earliest hospital CEOs to write his own blog, which started in August 2006.[10] Via this blog he led the first blog rally on end of life matters, and he has taken very public positions on topics such as the transparency of clinical outcomes and the corporate campaign of the SEIU to organize a union.[11]

Levy received national attention in 2009 for leading the workers at BIDMC to avoid hundreds of layoffs by engaging them in crowd sourcing of ideas to save money as the hospital faced deficits due to the national recession. Workers agreed to make extra sacrifices to insulate the lowest paid workers in the hospital from reductions in wages and benefits. [1]

Levy admitted on May 5, 2010 to poor judgment in his role as CEO of BIDMC because he had hired and promoted a female employee with whom he had an allegedly inappropriate relationship.[12] He was fined $50,000 but given a vote of confidence by the Board of BIDMC. Levy also issued an apology on his blog.[13]

Levy's leadership record at BIDMC, including his use of social media as a management tool, was the subject of a case study published in November 2010 by The Health Foundation, an independent charity working to improve the quality of health care in the United Kingdom. [2] David A. Garvin and Michael A. Roberto of Harvard Business School had previously produced a multimedia case study on Levy's turn-around of BIDMC in 2002. [3]

On January 7, 2011 he announced that he would be resigning from BIDMC. In a blog posting, Levy says he recently had time to reflect during a biking trip through Africa and has decided to move on to new challenges after nine years with Beth Israel. "Last night, I informed the Chair of our Board that I will be stepping down as CEO. We will work out an appropriate transition period, and things will continue to run smoothly here. I leave confident that the Board will find many able candidates to succeed me."

Levy continued writing his blog after leaving BIDMC, renaming it "Not Running a Hospital," broadening its reach to focus health care policy matters and clinical practice improvement throughout the world. In September 2015, he announced that the focus of the blog would shift to negotiation theory and practice, leadership training and mentoring, and teaching.[14] On March 15, 2016, he announced that he would discontinue the blog to focus on other interests.[15]