ST. LOUIS: Nick Ragone, Ketchum’s Washington, DC, office leader, is leaving the firm to join health system Ascension as CCO, effective June 23.
Ascension is a Catholic healthcare organization. Its subsidiaries include Ascension Health, the nation’s largest Catholic and nonprofit health system with more than 155,000 employees at more than 1,900 sites, according to a statement from the organization.
Ragone will lead the communications function across Ascension, its subsidiaries, and its 36 health ministries, which include hospitals and related facilities in 23 states and Washington, DC.
He will report to John Doyle, EVP of Ascension and president and CEO of Ascension holdings, and relocate to St. Louis for the role.
Ragone had served as Ketchum’s DC leader since mid-2011. Previously, he served as associate director of the Omnicom Group agency’s New York office, where he oversaw the corporate, media, and issues and crisis practices.
Ragone said he is excited to help "shape Ascension’s narrative," noting he believes it is ready to tell its story in a "bigger way."
Ascension works to "bring affordable, quality healthcare to underserved communities," he added. "They have such a big footprint – when I learned about them, I was shocked by their size and scope."
Ragone and Ascension were brought together by a recruiter, he said, adding that he "fell in love with their mission and their story. It clicked."
Barri Rafferty, senior partner and CEO for Ketchum North America, said the agency is not ready to name a replacement at this time.
"[Ragone’s] been with us at the agency a long time," she said. "We’re sorry to lose him, but we’re going to wish him well and regroup as a team to look at next steps for the office."