Dr. Greenspan’s Letter of Farewell

Hotel Voice — October 28, 2019

(Editor’s Note: Dr. Robert Greenspan wrote the following letter to the Benefit Funds’ Trustees, his colleagues at the Funds, and members of our union and their families. We are proud to publish it here.)

Dear Staff, Colleagues, Coworkers and Members and Their Families:

After more than 40 years, I have decided that this year will be my last year at the Funds.

It is truly overwhelming to write these words. I believe I have one of the best jobs in all of New York. It has been a rare privilege to serve the men and women of the Hotel Industry and positively impact their quality of life on a daily basis. I recognize the good fortune I have had to work in an organization that continually exhibits that it cares about quality and commitment. I enjoy the prospect each day of coming to work and collaborating with a talented, dedicated team, providing high quality, cost-effective benefits to people dependent upon our services. We are all colleagues in this work, trying to make it better for the next member or coworker.

I look back with so much pride at a generation of executives, managers, supervisors, clinicians, IT staff, clerical staff, customer service people, claims processors, co-workers, creators and crusaders that have redefined our culture, and who we have helped to empower. This place has been my family and home for most of my adult life. That I have gotten to spend this time working with people so amazingly talented and unstoppably resilient is a blessing I will forever cherish. There are no words, though, that can express how sincerely grateful I am for the privilege of working for you and with you. It has been personally rewarding and sustaining and the principal reason that I continue to look forward to work after 42 years with the Funds. However, all good things must come to an end.

The Funds are an amazing collection of businesses. I love this place. I love the way we reinvented healthcare and can serve as a model for the country. I love the bigness and boldness of our bets, like the Brooklyn Health Center and the new Queens Health Center. I love our people and their talent and our willingness to accept and embrace change. I love the way we work together to improve the lives of our members and succeed together. I love the breadth and diversity of our members across the hospitality industry, people of all races, backgrounds and age groups. I go with a sincere belief that I leave this organization poised to not just succeed, but to be a shining example of what labor and management can accomplish together. These are not accomplishments a CEO makes alone. These are achievements that require a committed team of gifted, tenacious individuals who come together to work relentlessly for a common goal.

I am committed to doing everything possible to ensure my successor’s success, as you, the trustees and the working members of the industry and your families deserve no less. It is time for that process to begin. I am pleased to announce the trustees have approved Dr. David Jacobson to succeed me as Chief Executive Officer. I have known Dave for 30 years as an employee, a coworker, a colleague and a friend. Dave ran my One Penn Plaza office and succeeded me as Dental Director of the Funds when I became Chief Medical Officer. He still sees Funds patients on a referral basis in his private practice. Dave understands our mission, our culture and is already familiar with the existing senior management team. He has managed large teams, run successful businesses and understands the unique need for complete member satisfaction and prudent spending and fiscal responsibility. Dr. Jacobson is well liked and respected by both those within the Funds and those outside our organization. I believe he will quickly engage and maintain the relationships with our staff, external vendors and consultants. I know I can count on you to give him your support and best efforts.

There is never a perfect time for this type of transition. There will always be the allure of staying another week, another month or another year to finish the last project, implementation or building. But now seems like the right time. Thank you all for this unique opportunity and allowing me this honor, and thank you for your continued support and friendship over the past five decades.

With gratitude and warm regards,

Dr. Robert Greenspan