Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (MLH) today announced its longtime CEO, Gary Shorb, will step down as CEO effective December 31, 2016. Shorb relayed the news at the healthcare system’s Board of Directors meeting today. Current MLH President and COO Michael Ugwueke will assume the CEO position January 1, 2017. Ugwueke was named successor to Shorb in May of 2015 and joined the organization in 2007. Shorb will continue with MLH through April 2017, serving as a senior advisor to Ugwueke.
Shorb was named CEO in 2001 and for nearly 15 years has strengthened the organization’s position as the leader in advancing the health of all Memphians, regardless of ability to pay. The nearly 100-year old system has received local and regional recognition and accolades and has been honored as the best hospital in Memphis by U.S. News and World Report for five consecutive years.
“I always trusted that I would feel a deep sense of certainty when the time was right to take this step, and that’s exactly how I feel,” said Shorb. “I work with an outstanding, talented and dedicated team, -- one that is made up of our senior leaders, physicians, and 12,000 Associates. I am profoundly grateful for all we’ve accomplished together, for the lives we’ve touched, for the difference we’ve made in our community and for the many ways we’ve strengthened our organization and our Power of One culture.”
The Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Board of Directors announced last spring that Shorb would retire in the near future and 30-year healthcare industry veteran Ugwueke would be the healthcare system’s next CEO.
“Gary has been an outstanding leader at MLH for more than 15 years,” said current MLH Board Chairman and FedEx CFO Alan Graf. “His compassion for community-minded leadership has led MLH to the strongest performance in the organization’s history, which has better positioned MLH to meet the future needs of Memphis and the Mid-South.”
Graf describes Ugwueke as a talented and committed leader that is poised to carry on the same community-minded legacy of healthcare leadership for which Methodist has become known.
“Michael’s extensive healthcare experience with large systems in Atlanta, Chicago and Washington D.C. has prepared him to take the reins of MLH and continue the community leadership position,” said Graf. “The MLH mission to invest in Memphis and the Mid-South has been alive for nearly 100 years and Michael will continue to lead the organization to stay focused on MLH’s vision and purpose to be at the very best for all who walk through the doors of our hospitals.”
Added Ugwueke, “I am very humbled by the confidence Gary and the entire MLH board have entrusted in me and my ability to guide this outstanding organization forward in its mission to provide high-quality health care to everyone,” said Michael Ugwueke, President and COO, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. “I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to impact people’s lives in such a positive way. I’ve felt a call to serve in the healthcare industry all of my life and the opportunity to lead Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare is truly something I take to heart. I am honored to carry on the legacy Gary and others before him have built.”