Northern Hospital of Surry County has a new interim CEO, but the board of trustees waited until he had been on the job four days before announcing his selection.
E. Berton Whitaker took over as interim CEO on Monday, the hospital said in a written statement released late Thursday afternoon, though the statement did not indicate when the board met and made the appointment.
“We are pleased with the selection of Mr. Whitaker as interim,” said Bill Woltz, Northern Hospital board chairman. “I’m confident in his abilities to lead Northern Hospital during this interim phase.”
This is the second go-round for the hospital in trying to put an interim in place to fill the void left by the departure of long-time CEO Bill James.
In April the board tapped E. Timothy Cook to fill the slot. He started on a Monday as well, but his tenure ended after three days. While hospital officials have remained tight-lipped about the reason for his departure, saying only that Cook was not “a good fit.”
They hope all of that is behind them with Whitaker’s appointment.
Whitaker retired in 2013 from Baptist Health Madisonville in Madisonville, Kentucky. He served as president and CEO for seven years at the 425-bed hospital. Prior to Madisonville, he led Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center, a 600-bed facility in Kingsport, Tennessee, as president and CEO.
Whitaker is a former Quorum Health Resources LLC (QHR). employee, having served as CEO at three medical centers during a 12-year period in Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama; as well as group vice president for two years overseeing management client hospitals in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
QHR continues its search for a permanent replacement for James, who left the hospital this spring for a position in Lexington.