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Title: Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer Location: Houston Age: 40 Breaking Up Is Hard to Do Methodist Hospital CEO Ron Girotto recalls wooing Ramon M. “Mick” Cantu for the newly created general counsel position, sweetening the deal with visions of shorter workdays than Cantu had at Vinson & Elkins. “I told him that he wouldn’t have to work near as hard if he came to work for me. I told him that we probably could take off and play golf Friday afternoons,” Girotto says. Cantu took the job, and then about two months later, Methodist received word from Baylor College of Medicine that the 50-year partnership between the two health giants would be changing. So would Cantu’s new job. Beyond the headlines, the hand wringing and the failed mediations, the two organizations are working out their relationship, and Cantu has played a large part. His long experience as an outside facilitator has served him well, Cantu says. “We’ve made a lot of progress. I think it’s better when the two parties can sit down and work through whatever the situation is,” he says. Like a divorced couple with children and a house, Methodist and Baylor must work out many joint issues. Since early this year, senior executives from both sides have met on a weekly basis, coming to written agreements on a variety of teaching programs, space issues and funding concerns, Cantu says. Even if Cantu hadn’t gone in-house, he would have been the lawyer of choice for Methodist through this transition, but it would have cost more, Girotto says. Before the split with Baylor, he adds, Methodist had embarked on developing its own HMO, among other changes, but wanted to exit that venture. The hospital had an in-house legal department for operational issues, but Girotto decided it needed to centralize the legal function under an executive-level general counsel. Cantu was the obvious choice. “When I decided we needed someone of this caliber, it wasn’t as if we were going to do a national search. As we worked with Mick, we felt very comfortable working with him,” Girotto says. Managing the Baylor breakup is just the tip of the iceberg now, he says. Methodist is rapidly expanding and entering into new health-related ventures, which Cantu is shepherding well, Girotto says. “He does it in a very laid-back, non-assuming way. He certainly doesn’t ever give you the impression that he’s under high stress,” Girotto says. Since Cantu joined the hospital, Methodist has partnered with Weill Medical College of Cornell University, established a research institute, begun a residency program and formed a physician’s organization, to name a few advances. He has definitely kept busy, Cantu says. “One of the things I had a little concern about was whether or not the position would be challenging enough. It has been.”

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