Las Vegas Sun

January 20, 2018

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Nevada Cancer Institute director leaves post

Dr. John Ruckdeschel has left as director and chief executive officer of the Nevada Cancer Institute. Dr. Phillip Manno has been named interim director.

The announcement of Ruckdeschel's departure appears in the fifth sentence of a six-sentence news release posted this afternoon on the website of the nonprofit organization. No details for the changes were given.

Nevada Cancer Institute spokesperson Hilarie Grey declined to comment about the specifics behind the departure, saying institute officials do not discuss such moves.

The departure of Ruckdeschel, an oncologist who specializes in the treatment of lung cancer, comes on the heels of a March 21 announcement of the layoff of 30 employees of the nonprofit organization, or about 10 percent of its workforce.

The institute was opened in 2005 by MGM Resorts International Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Murren and his wife, Heather, a longtime Wall Street financial analyst. The two had lost several family members to the disease and sought to open a world cancer prevention, detection and treatment facility in Southern Nevada.

Heather Murren and NV Energy Chief Executive Officer Michael Yackira, who serves as chairman of the institute’s board of directors, were unavailable for comment, Grey said.

Ruckdeschel joined the organization in 2009 after running the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit and the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, building it into the third-largest cancer center in the country.

In an August 2009 Sun interview Ruckdeschel was asked about the toughest business lesson he has had to learn: "It’s very hard to have to bring someone in and say, 'this isn’t working. You need to leave the organization.' Because it’s the only way to make it work. That’s hard. That’s not a skill set that we’re brought up with in medicine or in academics. But it’s the key one to learn."

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