Bob BonarRobert (Bob) I. Bonar, Jr., Dr. H.A.
Chief Executive Officer

Bob Bonar was appointed CEO of Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota in December 2014. With hospitals in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, Children's is one of the largest pediatric hospital systems in the country, and serves children throughout the upper Midwest.

Throughout his career, Mr. Bonar has been focused on improving quality outcomes, establishing strategic partnerships within the community and furthering access to pediatric care for people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Prior to Children's, Mr. Bonar served as president and CEO of Seton Family of Hospitals and CEO of Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas. He also held senior leadership roles at pediatric health systems in Oklahoma, Virginia and South Carolina, and served in instructional roles at several university medical centers across the country.

Mr. Bonar holds a doctorate in health administration and policy from the Medical University of South Carolina, earned master's degrees in administrative disciplines from West Virginia University and the University of Oklahoma and also holds a bachelor's degree in biology from West Virginia University.


Maria ChristuMaria C. Christu, JD
General Counsel and Vice President, Advocacy and Health Policy

Maria C. Christu joined Children's as its first general counsel in 2003. Prior to joining Children's, Ms. Christu spent nine years as an associate general counsel at UnitedHealth Group in Minnetonka. Maria began her legal career in the Minnesota Attorney General's Office, where she served as counsel for various health licensing boards as well as the Minnesota Department of Health. Ms. Christu serves on the board of directors of Way to Grow and Children's Law Center, and is a member of the Minnesota Advisory Board of the Children's Defense Fund.


Jennifer Close

Jennifer L. Close
Chief Ambulatory Officer

Jennifer Close joined Children's in April of 2013 as Chief Ambulatory Officer, with oversight for Children's clinics. Prior to joining Children's, Ms. Close spent 11 years with Dean Health System in Madison, Wis., most recently serving as vice president of operations in the Office of Medical Affairs for Dean Clinic. She has more than 20 years of health care leadership experience, including positions with Dean Health Plan, Rogers Benefit Group, Blue Cross and Blue Shield United of Wisconsin and Marquette University. She holds a master's of science in clinical psychology from Marquette University and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.


Roxanne Fernandes

Roxanne Fernandes, RN, MHA
Chief Nursing Officer

Roxanne Fernandes joined Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota as Chief Nursing Officer in May 2011. With a commitment to ensuring high-quality, safe patient care, Ms. Fernandes has helped Children's build a unified nursing management team and further elevated education, training, accountability and patient advocacy among nurses.

Ms. Fernandes has more than 30 years of experience in pediatrics, both at the bedside and in executive roles, and most recently served as executive director at the University of California, San Francisco. During her time in California, Ms. Fernandes was named one of the top 100 Influential Women in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times for five consecutive years.

Ms. Fernandes previously served on the Board of Trustees for the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI). She currently serves on the Education Committee for the Children's Hospital Association. She holds a master's degree from the University of San Francisco and a bachelor's degree in nursing from San Jose State University.


Bjorn Gunnerud

Bjorn Gunnerud
Vice President of Marketing and Communications

Bjorn Gunnerud is Vice President of Marketing and Communications, and joined the organization in 2010. Prior, he was vice president of Marketing at MinuteClinic, the largest provider of retail health care in the country and a subsidiary of CVS Pharmacy. He's also held leadership positions in several top advertising agencies managing brands including BMW, Georgia-Pacific and Citibank. Mr. Gunnerud received a bachelor of arts from Saint Olaf College.


Samantha Hanson
Samantha Hanson
Chief Human Resources Officer

Samantha Hanson joined Children's as Chief Human Resources Officer in May 2014. Ms. Hanson brings more than 15 years of diverse leadership experience in positively transforming companies and their cultures. Most recently, she served as the senior vice president of human capital at OptumInsight, where she oversaw four market groups – provider, payer, government and life services. She was also instrumental in building the culture at Ingenix, the health information technology subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group that would later become OptumInsight. Prior to Optum/Ingenix, Ms. Hanson held executive leadership positions for Verifications, Taleo/Vurv Technology, and Best Buy. Ms. Hanson holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Phillip Kibort

Phillip Kibort, MD, MBA
Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Phillip Kibort became vice president system advancement at Children's in 1996, and he became Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Medical Affairs in 2002. Dr. Kibort was a pediatric gastroenterologist at Minnesota Gastroenterology from 1982 to1994. He has written and published on issues of management and quality in health care, and teaches on medical quality to health care professionals at the University of St. Thomas in the Twin Cities. He is a member of the American College of Physician Executives and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Kibort has served on the boards of Ronald McDonald House Charities, Way to Grow, and now Memorial Blood Center. He was president of Temple of Aaron from 2003-2005.


Carol Koenecke-Grant

Carol Koenecke-Grant
Chief Strategy Officer

Carol Koenecke-Grant joined Children's as Chief Strategy Officer in 2012. She has been in health care marketing and planning for more than 25 years, most recently serving as senior vice president of strategic planning and implementation for Guthrie Health, a three hospital and 23 clinic system in Pennsylvania and New York. Initially a clinician, Ms. Koenecke-Grant has experience working for multi-disciplinary physician groups, for-profit and non-profit health care systems and academic medical centers. She received her undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University and her master's degree from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. She has served on the national Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development board since 2005 and speaks nationally about marketing strategy, branding and planning for growth.


Alec Mahmood

K. Alec Mahmood
Chief Financial Officer

K. Alec Mahmood joined Children's as Chief Financial Officer in July of 2013. Mr. Mahmood has more than 20 years of experience in health care management and financial leadership, with his past employment spanning the physician, hospital and payer realms, and the for-profit and not-for-profit areas of health care. Most recently, he served as the chief financial officer for HealthMarkets, a Dallas-based health and life insurance company. He has also held leadership positions at Coventry Health Care, Ardent Health Services, Kaiser Permanente and Health Net. Mr. Mahmood has a bachelor of arts in history from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and a master's in health administration from the University of Southern California.


David Overman

David S. Overman
President and Chief Operating Officer

David S. Overman, was appointed Chief Operating Officer for Children's in 2008, and currently serves as President and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to this, he served as the chief information officer along with expanded responsibilities for Health Information Management, Pharmacy and Radiology. Prior to joining Children's, Mr. Overman served as vice president of information systems at Express Scripts, a large national company that manages pharmacy benefits. During his 10 years at Express Scripts, he led an information technology staff of more than 800 employees. Mr. Overman is past chair of the board of Ronald McDonald House Charities.


Theresa Pesch

Theresa Pesch, RN
President, Children’s Foundation

Theresa Pesch joined Children's in February 2007 and leads the team that launched and successfully completed the $150 million Next Generation of Care fundraising campaign, the largest capital campaign in the organization's history. By raising community support to unprecedented levels, Children's fundraising has increased five-fold under Ms. Pesch's leadership, which has provided the organization with resources for innovation, as well as substantial facility and technological improvements.

Originally trained in nursing, Ms. Pesch has 25 years of health care administration experience and is a sought after presenter for national philanthropy conferences. Additionally, Ms. Pesch has provided leadership roles for numerous boards and currently serves on First Step Initiative and Minnesota Visiting Nurses Association (MVNA). She was recognized as a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Women in Business honoree, and is a member of Women Business Leaders of the US Health Care Industry Foundation and Women's President Organization. She also serves as a faculty member of Kaiser's Philanthropy Innovation Institute and the AHP Madison Institute.


Carol Wilcox

Carol Wilcox, RN, MS
Senior Hospital Administrator, St. Paul Site Campus and
Senior Director Diagnostic and Therapeutic Services

Carol Wilcox joined Children's in 2008, as the Director of Access and System Support and became Senior Director for Diagnostic and Therapeutic Services in 2010. She served as interim chief nursing Officer from June 2010 to June 2011 before accepting her current position as administrator for Children's St. Paul campus. Ms. Wilcox has held many leadership roles in both care delivery and health plan organizations in the Twin Cities. She has presented at the national level on different health care topics and holds a master's degree from the University of Minnesota and a BA in nursing from the College of Saint Catherine.


Jeffrey Young

Jeffrey Young
Chief Information Officer

Jeffrey Young joined Children's in March of 2009 as Chief Information Officer. He is responsible for the strategic direction and technical support of all information systems supporting hospitals and clinics. He also provides leadership for the Health Information Management department, which maintains the confidentiality, quality and timeliness of medical records and health information. Prior to joining Children's, Mr. Young spent 17 years at Express Scripts, a large national pharmacy benefit management company, serving in various leadership positions. Mr. Young holds a bachelor's degree in management information systems from the University of Wisconsin.