Cerner president steps down

Cerner President Zane Burke will leave the company on November 2 after five years in the role. John Peterzalek, Cerner executive vice president of worldwide client relationships, will take on Burke’s duties and become chief client officer.

Burke helped oversee Cerner’s $16 billion deal to replace the Department of Veterans Affairs homegrown electronic health record with one made by the Kansas City, Mo.-based company. Contract negotiations stretched out almost a year, during which officials from the federal government and Cerner had to overcome some sticky issues, including interoperability. The VA’s installation of a new EHR will put it on the same system as the Department of Defense. A House oversight committee is schedule to dig into the EHR upgrade during a September 13 hearing.

Cerner did not offer any specifics behind Burke’s decision to leave. “Zane leaves the company with a strong client focus and commitment to continued innovation, partnership and sustainable growth deeply engrained in our culture and leadership philosophy,” said Cerner CEO Brent Shafer in a statement.

Burke, for his part, is optimistic about Cerner’s future, though he noted in a statement that “complex and evolving challenges remain.”

Late last week, Burke sold almost $10 million in company stock. In the announcement of Burke’s departure, Cerner stuck by the guidance it offered in its August earnings. Bookings in the most recent quarter were up 9%, thanks in part to the VA contract, and revenue was up 6% to $1.37 billion.