The Board of Directors of SoutheastHEALTH announced Thursday, Aug. 21, that CEO Wayne Smith will retire, effective at the end of the year.
Board Chairman John Thompson said, “Wayne recently approached the Board about retiring, reminding us that he will turn 65 this year. After much consideration, we reluctantly accepted his request. The Board has engaged a search firm to find a successor. During this period, we asked and Wayne agreed to remain in place to ensure a smooth transition until a suitable candidate is identified.”
Wayne Smith became interim CEO in June 2011, and the Board named him chief executive later within his first year. He was the right person at the right time while SoutheastHEALTH transformed its governance and board structure from an archaic association to the current hospital system mode, Thompson said.
During his tenure, Smith oversaw several acquisitions that created the largest geographic provider of healthcare services between St. Louis and Memphis, as SoutheastHEALTH acquired facilities in Ellington, Dexter, and Poplar Bluff. In addition, he oversaw significant growth in medical services, as SoutheastHEALTH expanded its physician practices throughout the region and partnered with Cardiovascular Consultants and Women First.
Wayne Smith brought stable leadership to SoutheastHEALTH and focused the enterprise on a strategy to deliver high quality, low cost healthcare, close to home. When asked for comment, Smith said, “The timing is right for me personally. We’re not yet where we want to be, but I’m proud of the progress we’ve made; I feel confident that the organization is headed in the right direction, and I’ll do whatever I can to assist the Board with the transition.”
John Thompson indicated the search for a new chief executive is under way, and the process may take four months or more. Wayne summed up his time at SoutheastHEALTH, saying, “It’s truly been an honor and a privilege to work with the various boards, these amazing, dedicated employees and the communities we serve. My wife Debbie and I love southeast Missouri and plan to stay here, but we will spend more time visiting our grandchildren in Texas.”