CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards to retire

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Steve Edwards will retire as CEO of CoxHealth in May 2022.

"I think it is rare that a CEO can be highly effective beyond 10 years," Mr. Edwards said in a Nov. 19 letter to staff. "It's easy to become rigid, recalcitrant and inadvertently thwart progress, which are things I never want to do."

Mr. Edwards' tenure spans nearly 30 years. He joined the Springfield, Mo.-based health system in 1992 as a member of the grounds crew and served in various roles before becoming president and CEO in 2012.

Throughout the last decade, Mr. Edwards has overseen the creation of Cox Medical Group, a 750-provider organization. Under his leadership, the health system's employee base has grown from 7,500 to 12,500, the letter said.

He was honored with the Missouri Hospital Association's 2021 Visionary Leadership Award on Nov. 5.

"During the initiative to expand Medicaid, Steve was a tireless warrior," said Jon Doolittle, president and CEO of the Missouri Hospital Association. "When the Delta variant spread rapidly through southwest Missouri, he led the charge to create or recreate capacity for patients, educate the public about protections, and encourage vaccination as a tool to protect individuals and the community."

Mr. Edwards has frequently used Twitter throughout the pandemic to express his views on matters related to COVID-19. 

One July post on the social media site read, "If you are making wildly disparaging comments about the vaccine, and have no public health expertise, you may be responsible for someone's death. Shut up."

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