Gary Shaw Stepping Down As President & CEO of Nantucket Cottage Hospital

Written By: Jason Graziadei | Photography By: Brian Sager

Gary Shaw, President and CEO of Nantucket Cottage Hospital, is stepping down from his position after just two years at the helm of the island’s hospital. 

“It’s time,” Shaw told the Current Tuesday afternoon. “Trish (Shaw’s wife) and I made the decision to move to Nashville to be with our grandkids.”

Shaw said he plans to put his house in Tom Nevers – which he purchased at the end of 2019 and refurbished – on the market and move off-island by the end of the summer.

Nearly all of Shaw’s tenure as president and CEO coincided with COVID-19 pandemic. Just weeks after he arrived on-island, the nation and Nantucket went into lockdown and the hospital completely changed its operation to respond to the threat of the virus.

“I feel like I’ve given five years of my life in the last two,” Shaw said. “Covid has been clunky and the challenges of navigating a pandemic were large, but I’m in a good place and I’m happy.”

Even so, it was clearly not Shaw’s plan to leave after just two years when he took the job and moved to the island from Minnesota in 2019. What changed and when? 

“Probably the fourth wave of Covid,” Shaw said.

Massachusetts General Hospital President David Brown informed the NCH Board of Trustees that a search would begin in the coming weeks, and that Jeanette Ives-Erickson, the chief nurse emerita at MGH, had agreed to serve as interim president of the hospital until the next leader is in place. Massachusetts General Hospital is one of the founding entities of Mass General Brigham, the parent company of NCH. Shaw emphasized that his decision to resign was his alone, and that he was not being forced out by the board or Mass General Brigham. 

“There is not an MGB or MGH piece, they didn’t want me to go,” Shaw said. “This is my decision.”

Ives-Erickson had previously served as interim president following the resignation of former NCH President and CEO Dr. Margot Hartmann. 

Jeanette Ives-Erickson

“No stranger to the island community, Jeanette, chief nurse emerita of the MGH, is an extraordinary leader with a deep understanding of the Nantucket community and NCH,” Brown wrote in his memo to NCH Trustees. “She is currently a member of the NCH Board of Trustees, served as a consultant to NCH leadership for two years beginning in early 2018, and spent several months as interim president in late 2019 before Gary arrived.”

During his two years navigating the hospital through the pandemic, the front door of the facility was closed and visitors were restricted, so most islanders got their first introduction to Shaw on Zoom or YouTube as they watched his appearances at the Nantucket Select Board meetings when he provided regular updates regarding the hospital’s response, testing capacity, and prevention guidelines. Shaw was named president and CEO just 10 months after the opening of the new $90 million hospital facility on Prospect Street, one of the factors which originally attracted him to the position.

During both summers of his tenure, the hospital’s signature fundraising event – the Boston Pops on Nantucket – was cancelled. In 2020 it was due to the pandemic, and in 2021 because of the town’s staffing challenges. Prior to joining Nantucket Cottage Hospital, Shaw had led hospitals and healthcare organizations from Delaware to Alaska after his 20 years of service in the U.S. Navy’s Medical Service Corps, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He had most recently served as President of Cambridge Medical Center in Minnesota, an 86-bed facility. 

“I am fortunate that I was able to work with such a talented, committed, knowledgeable, and professional group of highly functioning individuals 30 miles out to sea,” Shaw concluded in a memo to Trustees and staff. “I will genuinely miss working with each and every one of you, but it is time to focus on my family and build back my energy for whatever life may have in store for me. I leave NCH positioned to welcome a new leader who no doubt will lift the organization to the next level.

More from Jason Graziadei

Planning Board Recommends Codifying Short-Term Rentals In All Districts

Short-term rentals will once again take centerstage at Nantucket’s Annual Town Meeting...
Read More