The Columbus Regional Healthcare System Board of Directors has appointed Lance B. Duke, FACHE, as interim Chief Executive Officer of the organization, it was announced today. The appointment is effective Oct. 1. Current Chairman and CEO Larry Sanders retires Sept. 30, after 30 years of service to the organization.
Duke is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Columbus Regional and President and CEO of The Medical Center, one of Columbus Regional’s three hospitals. He will continue in those roles during his interim appointment.
Duke joined Columbus Regional in 1993 as President and CEO of Phenix Regional Hospital. He has more than 30 years of hospital and health system leadership experience. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and master’s degree in Hospital and Health Administration from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Duke is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Georgia Hospital Association.
A national search is underway to identify a permanent successor to Sanders. The Columbus Regional board’s Search Committee has engaged Tyler & Company, a national executive search firm specializing in health care.
The search process began mid-summer and Tyler & Company identified several dozen prospective candidates, according to Max Brabson Jr., retired Synovus Human Resources executive and chairman of the Search Committee. This pool has been narrowed to six candidates, including Duke.
The search should conclude within two months, according to Brabson. “Health care is increasingly challenging and complex and a national search for a health care executive is an extensive process,” he said. The board hopes to name the permanent successor in November, Brabson added. The decision will be made with input from the full board, representatives from the medical staff and the Columbus Regional senior management team.
Sanders’ retirement also brings a change in the governance structure of the organization. He has served as CEO and board chairman since 1989. With his retirement, the board chairman role will be filled by long-time board member and local business executive Eugene (Gene) Demonet, who has been selected to fill that role effective Oct. 1. Under the new structure, the CEO of the organization will serve on the board as a voting member.