Who is David Torchiana, the outgoing head of Partners HealthCare?

Dr. David Torchiana met and mingled with colleagues during a Greater Boston Boys & Girls Club fund-raiser in 2015.
Dr. David Torchiana met and mingled with colleagues during a Greater Boston Boys & Girls Club fund-raiser in 2015.Sean Proctor/Globe Staff/file

Dr. David F. Torchiana’s nearly four-year run as head of Partners HealthCare came to an abrupt end when he announced his departure Monday night.

As Boston’s heathcare community learns of his departure, which will take effect at the end of April, here are a few key facts about the man colleagues affectionately call “Torch,” who took over as chief executive of the state’s largest hospital and physicians network to much fanfare in March 2015.

• Born in Illinois, Torchiana graduated from Yale University in 1976, then spent a year studying at Cambridge University in England before earning a medical degree at Harvard in 1981. He joined the department of surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1989. There, he steadily rose through the ranks, becoming chief of cardiac surgery in 1998.


• Immediately before becoming Partners chief, Torchiana oversaw a practice of more than 2,000 physicians at Mass. General. In that position, he was widely respected in the Boston health care community. And that doctors’ group, consisting of some of the top doctors in the nation, is considered as influential as the hospital itself.

• His annual salary as Partners chief was pegged about $2 million when he took the job, and at one point it swelled to nearly $4.3 million in total compensation, including bonuses and retirement benefits.

• Last year, he remained at the helm when Partners halted merger talks with the insurer Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, bowing to the reality that a deal would be extremely difficult if not impossible to pull off in a state where Partners has long been under the microscope.

• A heart surgeon by training, the 6-foot-6-inch Torchiana doesn’t drink coffee and is known for walking into early morning meetings with a can of Coke.


• The middle of three children, Torchiana was born in Evanston, Ill. His father Donald T. Torchiana, also known as “Torch,” was a professor of Anglo-Irish literature at Northwestern University. His mother, Magarida, was an educator focused on early child development.

Robert Weisman and Priyanka Dayal McCluskey of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.