With the search for a new Woman’s Hospital CEO anticipated to take longer than expected, the hospital’s board has announced Robert Burgess, the recently retired CEO of St. Elizabeth Hospital, as interim CEO.
The move comes one month after longtime Woman’s Hospital leader Teri Fontenot announced plans to retire, with the goal of leaving by late summer after a successor is appointed. But a statement issued by Woman’s this afternoon says Fontenot “has chosen to enjoy the fruits of her labor with an early retirement,” meaning Burgess will immediately step into the interim role.
In a prepared statement, board chair Donna Fraiche says Burgess’ experience in the regional health care market and understanding of the Woman’s mission make him a “perfect fit” for the role. Previously, he served as president and CEO of EATEL.
He might be at the helm for awhile, as the board continues engaging with Korn Ferry—a national search firm that specializes in healthcare executive placements—to select the next CEO.
“Given the high level of applicant activity and interest,” says Fraiche, “the search firm and Woman’s Board anticipate additional time may be needed to conduct due diligence in naming Teri’s successor.”
The board has honored Fontenot with the title of CEO Emeritus of Woman’s Hospital. During her 27-year tenure, she notably led the 2012 opening of a $340 million replacement campus to increase the hospital’s capacity for services and revenue-generating programs.
Meanwhile, the hospital is also working on succession planning to help fill three other leadership positions being vacated. Officials previously told Daily Report they would recruit both internally and externally for those positions.