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Sanford Health and CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft part ways

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Sanford Health and CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft are “parting ways,” just days after Krabbenhoft said he had COVID-19 so he won’t wear a mask.

A press release from Sanford Health on Tuesday said the pair agreed to part ways, and the Board of Trustees said Bill Gassen, who has been with Sanford Health since 2012 and was most recently serving as chief administrative officer, is appointed president and CEO, effective immediately.

Krabbenhoft appeared on KX News’s sister station in South Dakota, KELOLAND, to discuss the controversial comments he made in an email sent to the system’s employees.

“For me to wear a mask defies the efficacy and purpose of a mask and sends an untruthful message that I am susceptible to infection or could transmit it,” Krabbenhoft wrote in the email, obtained by The Associated Press. “I have no interest in using masks as a symbolic gesture. … My team and I have a duty to express the truth and facts and reality and not feed the opposite.”

Shortly after, Sanford Health issued a statement saying Krabbenhoft’s email was “based on his own experience and his personal opinions. They do not reflect the views of the health system.”

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