Leading Accounting in Medicine
Mike Coggin (HCB ’91, ’92) has always valued hard work and consistency. The son of a schoolteacher and a businessman, Coggin says his parents modeled a strong work ethic for their three sons.
After initially entering the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, as an engineering student, Coggin quickly pivoted toward business. “I felt like business was a major with abundant future career opportunities,” he says. “I wanted a well-rounded background to move up the ladder in companies and take on additional responsibilities.”
Coggin thrived in the positive, competitive atmosphere he found in the college’s accounting program. “The friends I made were like-minded, driven people who held me accountable for trying to be successful,” he recalls. “That built on the foundation of strong work ethic my parents had instilled in me.”
Shortly after graduating from the college’s Master of Accountancy program, Coggin married his college sweetheart, Anna, and went to work at KPMG, a public accounting firm in Nashville. Six years later, he went into the private healthcare industry as a senior vice president at Renal Care Group, a kidney dialysis company. While there, he gained a breadth of experience that would serve him well in future roles. The job allowed him to see things through different lenses of financial responsibility, including internal auditing, financial reporting, investor relations, and more. “My accounting background at UT opened the door for me into a broader spectrum of responsibilities.”
Coggin joined Lifepoint Health in 2009 as the company’s chief accounting officer, and in 2016 he was promoted to CFO. A company that operates 65 hospitals and 30 rehabilitation facilities in 30 states across the United States, Lifepoint used to be publicly traded but was acquired by a private equity firm in 2018.
Leading the company’s financial team through that major shift overlapped with the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic. They were, he says, some of the biggest challenges of his career, but also some of the most rewarding moments. “I get to work with a great group of people in a culture where everyone is expected to do the right thing,” he says. “When you work with people who share your goals to provide something as vital as healthcare, it keeps you excited about what you do every day.”
David Dill, chairman and CEO of Lifepoint Health, has known Coggin for two decades. “Mike is a model of consistency, which is what you need in a financial leader,” Dill says. “He has been able to build and grow an incredible team, and that’s a testimony to his leadership.”
Personal friend Michael Thompson also appreciates Coggin’s steadiness in the face of challenges. “He’s approachable, slow to anger, and genuinely enjoys being with people,” says Thompson. “These are all attributes a good leader should possess.”
Generosity is also important to Coggin. In addition to lending his time and talents to the college by speaking to classes, he and Anna have created the Coggin Family Scholarship Endowment, which is awarded to a Haslam accounting and information management student, and the Coggin Family Faculty Endowment, bestowed each year to an outstanding accounting professor.
“I see the university as the economic engine for providing opportunities for people across our state,” Coggin says. “Being part of that is important to both of us.”