Kim Wirthlin to Lead Huntsman Cancer Foundation as President and COO

Huntsman Cancer Foundation (HCF) chairman and CEO Peter Huntsman announced today that Kim Wirthlin will be president and chief operating officer, succeeding Susan Sheehan, who is retiring after 19 years.

“We are delighted to welcome Kim to the helm of HCF,” says Peter Huntsman, chairman and CEO of HCF. “Her expertise and vision will support the incredible mission our family began investing in decades ago. I have personally become acquainted with Kim during the search process and discussed her qualifications with leaders in the community. Her previous experiences, stellar reputation, and track record make her the perfect candidate for this position.”

HCF is the charitable organization supporting Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. The foundation enjoys the support of more than one million donors and is responsible for the growth seen at Huntsman Cancer Institute’s cancer campus and programs. Wirthlin, a dynamic and purpose-driven leader with deep experience in health care, will join HCF on February 1, 2023. In this role, she will build upon a strong legacy of excellence. Wirthlin joins a highly qualified team of leaders in philanthropy. The team’s vision is to work hand in hand with Huntsman Cancer Institute to realize a cancer-free future by eradicating the disease altogether. Thanks in part to generous donor support, Huntsman Cancer Institute has undergone remarkable growth and has had a dramatic, positive impact on the burden of cancer.

Wirthlin will be a fiduciary and officer of the foundation. She also will serve as a key voice in defining the aspirations and future of Huntsman Cancer Institute, and a voice for leaders in state and federal public policies that impact cancer. 

Huntsman Cancer Institute CEO Mary Beckerle, PhD, is enthusiastic about Wirthlin. “She is a distinguished leader with a proven record of success who will be an articulate and passionate advocate in advancing Huntsman Cancer Institute’s vision and strategic priorities,” Beckerle says.

During her previous 16 years of employment at the University of Utah, Wirthlin has worked as the vice president of government relations and as the chief marketing and communications officer for the university’s health care system and Health Sciences. She also served as the chief policy officer and head of business development.

“The work of HCF captures my energy, passion, and commitment, and it’s what drew me to this opportunity. The foundation is all about impact,” Wirthlin says. “It’s a unique university, community, statewide, and national asset that is instrumental in advancing the boldest vision laid out by its founder, Jon M. Huntsman, to eradicate cancer. I am thrilled to join the strong team at HCF along with the HCF board of directors to advance the vital and lifesaving work of conquering cancer.”

Wirthlin begins in this role on February 1, 2023.

About Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah

Huntsman Cancer Institute at the U is the official cancer center of Utah and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West. The campus includes a state-of-the-art cancer specialty hospital and two buildings dedicated to cancer research. Huntsman Cancer Institute provides patient care, cancer screening, and education at community clinics and affiliate hospitals throughout the Mountain West. It is consistently recognized among the best cancer hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report. The region’s first proton therapy center opened in 2021 and a major hospital expansion is underway. Huntsman Cancer Institute is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment for staff, students, patients, and communities. Advancing cancer research discoveries and treatments to meet the needs of patients who live far away from a major medical center is a unique focus. More genes for inherited cancers have been discovered at Huntsman Cancer Institute than at any other cancer center, including genes responsible for breast, ovarian, colon, head and neck cancers, and melanoma. Huntsman Cancer Institute was founded by Jon M. and Karen Huntsman.