Richard D’Aquila EPH ’79 will serve as the new chief operating officer and executive vice president for Yale-New Haven Hospital and executive vice president of the Yale-New Haven Health System effective May 1, hospital administrators announced Tuesday.

D’Aquila has been the chief operating officer at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center for the past six years. Though he is not a newcomer to Yale or Connecticut, most physicians practicing at the hospital who were contacted last night were unfamiliar with D’Aquila or with his appointment, but said they looked forward to working with him and to having more stability in the hospital’s senior staff.

“This is an important position at Yale-New Haven Hospital,” hospital spokesman Vincent Petrini said. “He will be ensuring that we are meeting our mission. We’re really looking forward to having him here.”

D’Aquila’s experience at Weill Cornell, a 1,120 bed hospital that serves as the teaching hospital for Cornell’s medical school, bodes well for his tenure at Yale-New Haven, said Dr. Edward Chu, director of medical oncology at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

“It sounds like this individual has a great deal of experience with a pretty high-powered medical center, which would be the case here,” he said. “It’s a good sign, especially as we’re moving forward on the cancer center. There’s no question that having a permanent COO in place moving forward provides much-needed stability.”

Sheperding the hospital through a period of growth was his most important accomplishment at Weill Cornell, D’Aquila said.

“We built a number of world-class programs and had a lot of volume,” he said.

D’Aquila said his first priority as chief operating officer will be to understand the culture of the institution.

William Meyerson, a spokesman for Service Employees International Union, the body that has clashed with Yale-New Haven Hospital’s administration over its attempts to unionize workers at the hospital, said he could not comment on D’Aquila’s appointment.

“We don’t know the gentleman but look forward to working with him,” he said.

Current chief executive officer and president of Yale-New Haven Hospital Marna Borgstrom held the post until her promotion last October. Petrini said recruitment for the position has been going on since the fall.