The Chief Executive Officer of Ohio’s largest health system plans to retire next year, Cincinnati-based Mercy Health announced Monday.
Mercy Health has more than 34,000 employees in Ohio and Kentucky, according to the nonprofit. Formerly known as Catholic Health Partners, Mercy Health operates 23 hospitals including several in the region such as Mercy Health — Fairfield Hospital as well as Springfield Regional Medical Center.
President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Connelly, 62, will retire effective Jan. 31, 2017, after an approximately 22-year tenure, according to Mercy. During that time, Mercy Health evolved from seven autonomous regional health care providers to a unified health system with assets of $6.1 billion, according to the system.
“His retirement announcement is a result of several years of focused and deliberate succession planning with our Board of Trustees,” said spokeswoman Maureen Richmond in an email.
Also part of Mercy Health’s announcement was naming Connelly’s successor. Mercy Health Board of Trustees has appointed John Starcher president and CEO-elect. Most recently, Starcher acted as Mercy Health’s executive vice president of operations in its southern markets and president and CEO of the Cincinnati Region, which includes five hospitals and more than 180 network locations.
Starcher became CEO overseeing Cincinnati-area hospital and doctor operations in January 2015.
Michael Garfield has been named interim president and CEO of the Cincinnati region, effective immediately, according to Richmond. He joined Mercy Health — Cincinnati in 2014 as chief operating officer, she said.
Connelly’s retirement is the most recent in a string of long-time regional hospital executives to announce plans to retire. Including the upcoming retirements of top executives at Mercy Health and Premier Health, and the recent retirement of the TriHealth’s CEO, the changes encompass a combined more than 75 years of experience.