Mayo President and CEO Denis Cortese is stepping down from the clinic's leading role Friday.
Cortese arrived at Mayo 40 years ago as a student, and spent some time at Mayo's Jacksonville campus in the '90s before returning to Rochester in 2002.
Cortese has overseen the clinic's three campuses and its health care system and opened two new hospitals -- one at Mayo's Arizona campus, and another at the Jacksonville campus.
"My wife keeps wondering, will we be returning again at some point to Rochester? And I don't think so," Cortese said. "But it feels good to retire and move on to some bigger issues that I've developed a major interest in over the past 15 to 20 years."
Cortese leaves the clinic as the nation debates health care reform. He said Congress should look to clinics like the Mayo Heath System and others in the region that are producing results.
"You can't write legislation to create what the delivery system looks like, but you can write legislation on what the delivery system should be producing and what we're going to pay for," he said. "That's the difference between politics and being able to do something."
He begins a job in January leading a new Health Care Delivery and Policy Program at Arizona State University.