Cliff Illig, Co-Founder of Cerner, Retires



Cliff Illig, co-founder and vice chairman of Cerner Corporation, announced today that he will retire from the company he helped to start in 1979. Illig cited the desire to focus on outside interests as the reason for his retirement.

According to a statement from Cerner, he will continue managing business and civic interests, including his ownership of Sporting Kansas City, membership on the board of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research and involvement with a number of non-profit organizations – just to name a few.

“It was one year ago that we announced Brent as our new chairman and CEO,” Illig said in the statement. “Having had the opportunity to work alongside him during the transition, I have become even more confident in his leadership. It’s very clear to me that the work that Brent and Cerner’s strong leadership team have done this past year has the company on the right path. That, combined with my focus on a growing number of outside interests, led me to what I believe is the right decision at the right time — the decision to leave the enterprise that has meant a great deal to me for my entire career.”

The statement did not reveal a replacement for Illig.

During his tenure with Cerner, Illig wore a number of hats. Along with co-founding the company in 1979, he also has been on the board since 1980,  serving as vice chairman beginning in March of 1999. Illig took a brief hiatus from his duties as vice chairman from July 2017 to February 2018 when he took over as chairman of the board and interim CEO. Additionally, Illig also previously served as Cerner’s chief operating officer, and later the president of the company.

“On behalf of the board of directors, as well as our more than 28,000 associates worldwide, I want to thank Cliff for his extraordinary contributions to Cerner,” Brent Shafer, Cerner chairman and CEO, said in the statement. “Cliff’s relentless focus on client experience, commitment to operational excellence and his attention to detail are indelibly instilled in Cerner’s culture, and his impact on the company will last for decades to come.”