FMOL board chair resigns over decision to fire system CEO

Mike McBride

One day after the system that oversees Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center fired its CEO, Michael McBride, the chairman of the system board has stepped down from his position with the organization.

Monroe businessman James W. Moore Jr., who has chaired the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System board since 2016, confirms he resigned due to his disagreement with the decision to fire McBride, which was announced late Wednesday in a statement by FMOL.

“In light of the fact that the Sisters have chosen to pursue a different direction for the system with respect to its leadership, after serving for approximately seven years on the FMOL board and three as chairman, I felt the timing was right to also allow them the opportunity to choose new board leadership,” Moore says in a written statement to Daily Report.

Moore, according to multiple sources, was not the only board member upset about the decision. The sources say the FMOL board did not meet to discuss McBride’s tenure nor were board members given an opportunity to vote on the issue. At least some board members were unaware the move was even afoot until early Wednesday when they were notified in a statement by the system office.

FMOL Regional Minister Sr. Barbara Arceneaux confirms the nuns made the decision to fire McBride, who was hired in February 2018.

“Mr. McBride’s approach to his role as the leader of our system was not in keeping with our values and culture,” Arceneaux says in a statement. “The Sisters have the authority to take this action and, while unusual, we did so only after much prayer and discernment and continued communication with Mr. McBride about collaboration and the inclusion of others as demonstrating respect and shared responsibility.”

The termination comes a month after McBride received a positive performance evaluation and was given a raise, according to multiple sources. OLOL did not respond to a request for comment on what might have changed since then.

But sources say there was growing tension between McBride, who came to the market from out of state, and Scott Wester, the longtime local CEO of Our Lady of the Lake. Sources familiar with the situation say McBride wanted to remove Wester.

The leadership turmoil could not come at a worse time for the hospital and the system. Later today, auditors from Deloitte will release the results of an internal investigation into how John Paul Funes, the longtime CEO of OLOL’s fundraising arm—the OLOL Foundation—allegedly embezzled nearly $1 million in foundation funds. (Disclosure: Louisiana Business Inc. President and CEO Julio Melara serves on the OLOL Board of Directors.)

Funes reported directly to Wester, though it is unclear to what extent, if any, the McBride firing is related to the Funes scandal. Sources say while it was among the reasons McBride wanted Wester to resign it was not at the heart of McBride’s firing.

Arceneaux denies the two issues are related “in any way.”

The FMOL and OLOL boards will be jointly briefed on the Deloitte report at noon. The OLOL Foundation board will be briefed at 2 p.m.

It is unclear how transparent the boards will be about the findings of the report. Arceneaux says only that a “statement” will be released publicly.

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