Lean Enterprise Institute Names Eric Buehrens New CEO

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“A proven lean thinker and leader, Buehrens has deep executive experience in healthcare, higher education, government, and engineering.”

picture of CEO Eric Buehrens

Eric Buehrens, LEI's new CEO.

“As long as I’ve been on my lean journey, the Lean Enterprise Institute has been the iconic touchstone of learning.”

The nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute, a global leader in lean thinking and practice, today announced the appointment of Eric Buehrens as its new CEO. The appointment took effect October 1, 2017.

A proven lean thinker and leader, Buehrens led lean transformations at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he served as COO and Interim CEO, and at Reliant Medical Group, a Massachusetts group medical practice, where he was COO.

Buehrens also has deep executive experience in the engineering, government, and higher education fields. He served as deputy provost for administration, Harvard University; president of Tighe & Bond International, Inc., an engineering firm; and as vice president of US Water, LLC, a joint venture of Bechtel Enterprises and North West Water (UK). As an executive with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, he built $150 million in facilities on time and on budget for the clean-up of Boston Harbor.

Buehrens is board treasurer of the nonprofit Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems. Past board service includes terms at Harvard Medical Collaborative and the Medical, Academic, Scientific Community Organization, Inc. He was active in the civic life of Brookline, MA, and served as chair of the town’s fiscal policy review committee.

Buehrens holds a bachelor’s with honors from Harvard College. For a complete biography, visit https://www.lean.org/WhoWeAre/LeanPerson.cfm?LeanPersonId=451

“I’m more stoked about this new role than anything else I’ve undertaken,” said Buehrens, who is a member of LEI’s board. “As long as I’ve been on my lean journey, the Lean Enterprise Institute has been the iconic touchstone of learning.”

“I couldn’t be happier to have Eric come on board as LEI’s new CEO,” Shook said. “He brings unique perspectives and talents to the CEO job from his leadership and continuous improvement work in diverse industries. I look at this not so much as a transition but an augmentation of LEI’s capabilities.”

Active in the #Lean Continuous Improvement Community
Both Buehrens and Shook plan to be active writing and speaking to the lean continuous improvement community and coaching Co-Learning Partners, a select group of companies from a variety of industries that have demonstrated executive commitment to lean transformations, an enthusiasm for collaborative learning where the work is actually done, and a willingness to share results with the global lean community.

Outgoing CEO John Shook will remain active as chairman of the LEI Board of Directors. He noted that “it made sense at this time” for LEI, which marks its 20th anniversary this year, to separate the chairman and CEO positions to give each executive time to do more work with Partner companies and in the lean community at large.

They join LEI’s Senior Advisor Jim Womack, who remains active in the lean community since he was succeeded as CEO by Shook in 2010. Womack continues to be a hands-on researcher, columnist, and author who since 2010 has written two editions of Gemba Walks, a book about how companies and people create value based on over 10 years of study and direct observations.

About Lean Enterprise Institute
Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc. (LEI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Cambridge, MA, with a mission to make things better through lean thinking and practice to create more value and prosperity while consuming the fewest possible resources. Founded in 1997, by management expert James Womack, PhD, LEI conducts research, teaches educational workshops, publishes books and ebooks, organizes conferences, and shares practical information about lean thinking and practice through lean.org.

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Chet Marchwinski
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