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Tops Markets’ Curci replaces Koelmel as chair of Kaleida board

Kaleida Health’s board of directors has named Frank Curci, the chairman and CEO of Tops Friendly Markets, as its chair.

Curci replaces John R. Koelmel, the former CEO of First Niagara Financial Group, who had served as chairman of the board of the region’s largest hospital system for six years, reaching the term limit of the position. The board approved the change at its meeting last week.

Kaleida Health is the area’s largest private employer, with revenues of more than $1 billion, but hospital networks face razor-thin profit margins, heated competition and regulatory burdens amid a changing health-care delivery system.

Koelmel led the board during a period when Kaleida Health had an uneven financial performance, with gains one year followed by losses the next. The board ousted James R. Kaskie, the system’s president and CEO, in January 2014, replacing him with Jody L. Lomeo, who is credited with steadying Kaleida Health’s finances and improving relations with employees.

Kaleida Health officials also say Koelmel helped transform the hospital system and played a leading role in the development of the Oishei Children’s Hospital, now under construction on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

“On behalf of the 10,000 members of the Kaleida Health family, I would like to thank John for his tremendous leadership over the past 10 years,” Lomeo said in a statement. “He is a tireless advocate for our community and is all about the greater good. We thank him for guiding our organization and helping us make it better for the patients we serve.”

Koelmel, as CEO of First Niagara, oversaw a period of rapid expansion before the bank’s board of directors replaced him in 2013. He later served as president of the HarborCenter hockey complex before leaving that project as construction neared completion in 2015. Koelmel remains chair of the New York Power Authority.

His term on the Kaleida Health board ends in April, and Curci said Koelmel was prevented by term limits from seeking a fourth, two-year appointment as board chair.

“I’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill,” Curci said in an interview.

Curci, 64, has been the public face of the Tops franchise, even showing up in the company’s television ads, and served as the supermarket chain’s president and CEO beginning in 2007, when an investment group led by Morgan Stanley Global Private Equity acquired Tops. He became chairman in 2013, following a buyout by a local executive group that he led. He gave up the president’s title in October.

Curci has served on the Kaleida Health board for a little more than three years. He pointed to the momentum the system has shown in recent years and said, “I hope to continue that progress.”

The board also named William J. Maggio Jr., an investor and life-sciences industry executive, as vice chair. Maggio also is chair of the 43North board of directors and is interim CEO of the Jacobs Institute.

“I’m very excited to be working with Frank in a leadership capacity on the Kaleida board,” Maggio said in an interview. “I’m confident that my experience in the health care field will be a great complement to his leadership.”

Dr. David A. Milling, the senior associate dean for student and academic affairs at the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, was elected secretary of the board and Christopher Ross, a principal with Lawley Insurance, was elected treasurer.