Daniel Aja, DVM, will take over as chief medical officer of Banfield Pet Hospital upon the retirement of Jeffrey Klausner, the nationwide chain reported Thursday.
Dr. Klausner, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, is set to retire at year's end, clearing the way for Dr. Aja to put his stamp on how Banfield and its more than 2,900 practitioners perform veterinary medicine.
Aja, most recently the director of U.S. professional and veterinary affairs at Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc., was named senior vice president of medical operations for Banfield as he awaits his promotion.
"Banfield has been the driver of preventive care within the veterinary profession for the past two decades – its leadership in this important area is admirable," Aja said. "Having owned and operated a private practice for more than  years, I have experienced firsthand the importance of preventive care when it comes to lengthening the lifespan of companion animals."
Before joining Hill's in 2009 as director of professional affairs, Aja owned and operated Cherry Bend Animal Hospital, an American Animal Hospital Association-accredited practice in Traverse City, Mich. He ran the hospital for more than two decades, a period during which he served as a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association House of Delegates and as AAHA president.
Banfield, based in Portland, Ore., promotes itself as the largest general veterinary practice in the world.
"As a practice, Banfield believes in providing a better world for pets through exceptional preventive care for its clients and their pets," Klausner said. "Dr. Aja shares Banfield's passion for helping pets live happier and healthier lives, and we believe he will continue to instill these core values throughout Banfield and the larger veterinary profession."
Aja's duties as chief medical officer will include oversight of the chain?s medical operations, the selection and retention of top veterinary talent, and the cultivation of strategic relationships within the profession, Banfield stated.
A graduate of the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Aja received the school?s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2006. He is a founding board member of Partners for Healthy Pets, which promotes regular veterinary visits as a way to ensure that pets receive preventive health care.