TMH Board of Trustees reopens CEO search |

TMH Board of Trustees reopens CEO search

Board members plan to restart process; stress importance of a strong fit

The Memorial Hospital in Craig
Lauren Blair

— The Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees voted unanimously Thursday not to extend a contract offer to the finalists for its CEO position, in effect, reopening the search.

Last month, the board announced Dan Bonk and Craig J. Marks as finalists for the hospital’s CEO post. Bonk served as CEO of Aspen Valley Hospital for about two years when he announced his resignation in January. Marks had held the post as president of Mark Twain Medical Center in Summit, Wis., for more than three years when he resigned in December.

After Thursday’s meeting, Board Chairman Forrest Luke said the board had decided the candidates and the hospital did not create a strong mutual fit. He acknowledged that doubts had risen since the interview process, when the two candidates were chosen from a group of four who visited the hospital.

“It was kind of both ways,” Luke said. “It was us deciding it wasn’t a fit, and maybe the reverse was also true.”

Board Member Don Cook stressed the importance of making a strong choice during this CEO search.

“We only want to do this once over the next few years,” said Cook. “We want to make sure we do it correctly.”

Four CEOs — including three who were interim, for at least part of their tenures — have been at the helm of the hospital from January 2013 to the present. Interim CEO John Nickens leaves the post after June 30.

“Obviously we’re disappointed,” Luke said. “We were hoping to be able to name a CEO.”

Luke envisioned a period of 60 to 90 days to hire a new CEO — and he said the board would most likely seek an interim CEO to take over after Nickens’ contract expires.

Luke, along with other board members, stressed their belief that reopening the search would help the hospital in the long run.

“We want to be really sure we have the right person,” he said.

In the past, TMH Board Chairman Forrest Luke has noted the importance of experience in the hospital’s next CEO, given the hospital’s movement away from use of a management company. The board announced in March that it was ending its management agreement with Quorum Health Resources — and the hospital’s CEO has been an employee of QHR since 1987.

Contact Michael Neary at 970-875-1794 or or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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