Having recently assumed the CEO position at Cerner, Brent Shafer brings more than 35 years of health care and information technology experience to the healthcare services leader. Shafer took on the role of CEO and chairman of the board of directors as of February 1, 2018, replacing Cerner co-founder Cliff Illig. Illig had been serving as Cerner's interim CEO and chairman following fellow co-founder and CEO Neal Patterson's death in July 2017.
Prior to joining Cerner, Shafer spent almost 13 years at Philips. He started as executive vice president of global sales and service and served as CEO and executive vice president of Philips Home Healthcare Solutions before assuming the same roles for Philips North America. During his stint at the multinational technology giant, Shafer was widely regarded as playing an important role in helping the business refine and boost its focus on healthcare technology as well as helping the company expand its market share and reach new levels of profitability.
While Shafer's role as CEO and executive vice president of Philips North America saw him overseeing the biggest global technology market with a portfolio that covered everything from patient monitoring, respiratory care, clinical informatics and imaging to highly-recognizable consumer brands, he gained a reputation for something else during this tenure with Philips: his skilled bass guitar playing. Shafer was known to take the spotlight at Philip's corporate events at venues such as the House of Blues, and the CEO even joined Jim Belushi on stage with his backing band.
Shafer began his career in a variety of sales and senior leadership positions with other major health care and information technology companies including Hewlett Packard, Hill-Rom Company and General Electric. In an interview, Shafer noted that he never aimed to become CEO of a major company or to even enter the health care industry. However, the nine weeks that his twin children spent in the NICU following their birth inspired him to focus his professional attention on making a difference within the health care sector.
It's this resolve and spirit Shafer brings to Cerner, having noted upon joining that "I’m excited to celebrate many new milestones with Cerner."