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Stryker adds former health system CEO (and customer) to board

Christy Radecic / AP

Medical device manufacturer Stryker has added Mary Brainerd to its board of directors. Brainerd, the retired CEO of HealthPartners, a $6 billion not-for-profit hospital and health insurance system in Minnesota, will get an annual $60,000 retainer fee and about $500,000 worth of stock options, according to a federal filing posted by Stryker.

The kicker: Stryker sold $17 million worth of medical devices to HealthPartners between January 2016 through May 2017.

Why it matters: Many health care executives — at both not-for-profit and publicly traded companies — hold cushy positions on the boards of other companies. That isn't problematic in a vacuum, but it could raise questions about conflicts of interest if executives' organizations do business with the companies where they hold board power.

Update: A HealthPartners spokesperson said the system uses "competitive bidding processes for major contracts, and these are complex, evidence-based decisions made by purchasing leadership, not the CEO."