The region’s Planned Parenthood affiliate, which operates Missouri’s only abortion clinic, has announced a new chief executive to replace long-time president Paula Gianino, who is retiring.
Mary Kogut, currently vice president of patient services, will take over on Jan. 8 as the new president and CEO for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.
Kogut has been with the agency for 34 years. She was chosen after a year-long search, said Shanti Parikh, the agency’s board chairman.
“It has been a privilege to work for an organization that I am passionate about, one that values and believes that everyone should have access to critical reproductive health and education services,” said Kogut in a statement.
“To be selected to lead this affiliate and partner with our extremely talented staff, physicians, board, volunteers, and community is truly an honor," she continued. "The legacy of our current CEO, Paula Gianino, positions us with strength to seize new opportunities and continue serving with excellence and innovation.”
According to the agency’s statement, Kogut will oversee “a staff of over 160 full and part time professionals, an $11 million annual budget for 8 health centers, one ambulatory surgical center, and administrative, public policy, research, donor stewardship, communications, and education and diversity divisions.”
Kogut said in an interview that Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri serves about 40,000 patients annually, men and women. Most of those services pertain to "sexual or reproductive health care,'' she said.
The bulk of those services are provided at the agency's preventative-health centers; six are in the St. Louis area and two are in southwest Missouri.
Planned Parenthood also provides educational services to another 20,000 people.
"We will do what it takes to minimize barriers,'' Kogut said. "Our goal is to keep our doors open... to always be accessible and available to our community."
Kogut will take over at a time when abortion opponents have succeeded in placing more restrictions on abortion services and are seeking to impose even more during the next legislative session. The Missouri General Assembly most recently overrode Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto and imposed a 72-hour waiting period for abortions performed in the state, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
Some Republican legislators already are talking of proposing more measures directed at Planned Parenthood’s clinic in the Central West End.
Gianino has been a high-profile advocate for Planned Parenthood, and reproductive rights, for 25 years. She praised Kogut as “exceptionally committed to the mission, work and services provided by Planned Parenthood. She is a respected member of our senior management team who has helped us achieve more each year, while setting the highest standards for excellence and quality care. She is uniquely qualified to take the lead as our new chief executive.”