Penny Wheeler

Allina Health

Allina CEO Penny Wheeler saw her leadership of the health care nonprofit put to a severe test this year when she threw down the gauntlet over replacing costly union-backed health insurance plans for 4,800 of the provider’s nurses. It provoked a 37-day strike that ended with a new contract, under which the nurses will be very gradually moved to company-endorsed plans. But the deal came only after the intervention of Gov. Mark Dayton and bitter union criticism of Wheeler’s lack of personal participation in the negotiations. The coming year will be one in which the CEO will face continuing challenges in managing the evolving health care landscape while attempting to maintain high ratings for its facilities (Abbott Northwestern Hospital was again ranked No. 1 in the state by U.S. News).