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'Kelby Krabbenhoft takes this real serious': Sanford CEO quashes rumors of resignation, forced exit

Sanford Health CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft at a news conference in 2012 in Moorhead. Forum file photo

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Sanford Health CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft is swatting down widespread rumors that he was thinking about resigning or was asked to leave his job.

“If it wasn’t so sad or scurrilous, I’d laugh about it,” he told SiouxFalls.Business in a recent interview. “But people get worried about things like that. I think it’s unfortunate. I’ve got to believe my own people heard that and went ‘right’ or ‘good grief.’ ”

The rumors regarding Krabbenhoft reached The Forum this week, and when asked about them, a Sanford spokesman in Fargo told the newspaper there was no truth to them.

Krabbenhoft encouraged his employees to “show up for work like I do. We know what we’ve got to get done at Sanford. We’re a tight family. We’re having the biggest year ever. To the degree that they have to put up with this garbage, I apologize for that. But I can’t own such ridiculousness. These things were just way out of line. I find myself not even wanting to dignify it because it was so stupid. But to the degree that families and other people get hurt by this, that’s where … Kelby Krabbenhoft takes this real serious. We’re in the business of taking care of people and each other, and where people get hurt, that brings out a pretty ugly side of me.”

Krabbenhoft promised to uncover “the reason behind these really hurtful and inappropriate things,” he told SiouxFalls.Business. “I don’t want to comment on it because I think a person in my position (doing so) … actually dignifies such manure. It’s always intriguing to add the junk that was in those rumors. That goes on from Washington, D.C., to California, but I don’t tolerate that here.”

Krabbenhoft plans to retire sometime in 2023 at age 65, he told SiouxFalls.Business.

Krabbenhoft leads Sanford Health, a nonprofit health care system with 45 hospitals, including one in Fargo, and 289 clinics. It’s the largest employer in the Dakotas, with more than 28,000 employees.

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