Vernon Loucks, Hall of Fame honoree, dies at age 87

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Vernon Loucks, former CEO of Baxter International and Modern Healthcare Hall of Fame inductee, died Sunday at the age of 87.

Loucks began working at the medical supply giant as assistant to then-head Bill Graham. Loucks rose up the ranks to become vice president of international business in 1968 and served as the top executive from 1980 to 1998. He was chairman from 1987 to 1999.

A Marine Corps officer and Yale University and Harvard Business School graduate, Loucks was responsible for quadrupaling the company’s sales to $5.7 billion during his tenure and increasing the workforce from 30,000 to 42,000. Baxter also grew globally under Louck’s leadership. In 1985, Baxter purchased American Hospital Supply Corp., which later spun off a number of divisions, including Caremark Rx.

In a profile written for Louck’s 2006 induction into the Modern Healthcare Hall of Fame, former colleagues said his personal demeanor and leadership style also were important components of Baxter’s success.

“He was a terrific leader and a terrific human being,” said Terry Mulligan, former chairman of MedAsset’s Senior Advisory Board and a former executive at Baxter who joined during the American Hospital Supply merger. “I don’t know how many people who are executives running companies formerly worked for Vern.”

Mulligan confirmed that Loucks died in Pittsburgh.

Loucks was the first chairman of the Healthcare Leadership Council and later led healthcare investment and consulting firm, the Aethena Group.