The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, which had done a ton of high-profile research over the years on the causes and treatment of heart disease, recently named Ann Bentdahl its president and CEO.

Bentdahl has more than 20 years of financial industry experience, and currently serves as the foundation’s vice chair. She succeeds James Toscano, 74, who will continue non-profit consulting. She’s the first woman to lead the foundation.

A former senior vice president of Excel Bank and present of the bank’s foundation, Bentdahl also serves on the boards of Ronald McDonald House Charities for the upper-Midwest, the Ann Bancroft Foundation and the Edina Community Foundation. She’s a member of the Hamline University Board of Trustees and the School of Business advisory board.

“I am honored to serve this extraordinary organization, which has been a priority for my family since its founding in 1982,” Bentdahl said.

“My father had been treated by one of the 13 cardiologists who had an interest in starting the Foundation, and he joined with these doctors and others in the mission of creating a world without heart disease. Today, the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation is one of the top ten cardiovascular research and education centers in the country and a big source of pride for our region.”

She begins her new job Oct. 3, just before the foundation’s big annual gala on Oct. 29.

Janet Moore covers medical technology for the Star Tribune.