Who's Next: Successors Chris Holtmann and Mike Kaufmann
To compile our Who's Next feature, we needed to do some amateur palm reading: find talented people on the rise and then project their futures. But sometimes identifying the next in line isn't so speculative, as in the case of recent turnover in two prominent roles in Columbus. If everyone else on this list is Who's Next, this pair is Who's Right Now.
Occupation: Ohio State men's basketball coach
Hometown: Nicholasville, Kentucky
Ohio State football is a crucible for coaches, but leading the men's basketball team isn't exactly a laid-back gig either. Just ask Thad Matta, the winningest coach in program history, who was fired in June after two lackluster seasons and an increasing sense of malaise within the program. Enter Chris Holtmann, a leader with lots of promise but only six seasons as a head coach on his resumé.
Holtmann played college basketball at Taylor University, a small Christian school in Upland, Indiana, and was named an All-American during his senior year. He later served as an assistant coach at Taylor and then Ohio University before landing his first head coaching job at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina. His last stop was at Butler University, where a young Matta once proved his chops. Holtmann led the Bulldogs to the NCAA tournament the past three years, and the 2016-17 season was their best—they finished 25-9, swept reigning national champion Villanova and advanced to the Sweet 16. Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award.
Occupation: CEO of Cardinal Health (as of Jan. 1, 2018)
Hometown: Steubenville, Ohio
Cardinal Health has a reputation as a major employer in Central Ohio, but its true economic clout may still slip under the radar. According to 2016 annual reports, the health care giant earned $121.5 billion in revenue, nearly double Nationwide Insurance, Huntington Bank, L Brands and Worthington Industries combined. By default, then, Cardinal's CEO has an influential voice in the city, so it was big news when the company announced in early November that current chairman and CEO George Barrett would step down, making way for CFO Mike Kaufmann to become CEO at the beginning of 2018.
Kaufmann earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Ohio Northern University and is a certified public accountant. He's been with Cardinal for 27 years, after six years with Arthur Andersen. Before serving as CFO, Kaufmann was the CEO of the company's pharmaceutical segment, which accounts for the vast majority of Cardinal's revenue. Though corporate revenue climbed even higher in 2017, he takes over at a time when the pharmaceutical business is under increasing scrutiny. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has been pressuring drug distributors like Cardinal to provide additional funding and assistance in response to the opioid crisis.