Florida system CFO resigns after external CEO hire

Brett Esrock, executive vice president, CFO and COO of Health First, is leaving the Rockledge, Fla.-based organization following the hiring of an external candidate for the CEO role, Florida Today reported May 22. 

"I have been blessed to work with many operational areas of the organization [during the search for a new CEO] in a way that I might not otherwise have done," Mr. Esrock said in a memo to staff, according to the outlet.

"In this time, it also became clear how important it is to me to continue to grow my own career. I have more I want to do, and I believe those opportunities are outside of Health First. I will be transitioning my work over the next 60 days."

Gaithersburg, Md.-based Adventist HealthCare announced in April that its president and CEO, Terry Forde, will leave the helm on Aug. 2 to become president and CEO of Health First.

Mr. Forde joined Adventist HealthCare's leadership team as executive vice president and COO in 2011. He became president and CEO in 2014.  

When he joins Health First, Mr. Forde will succeed Steve Johnson, who retired last year, according to Florida Today. Health First Board of Trustees Chair Kent Smith is serving as interim CEO of the organization until Mr. Forde's arrival.

In his memo to staff, Mr. Esrock expressed disappointment about not being selected as CEO while also describing Mr. Forde as someone who "will be an incredible servant leader in this organization," according to Florida Today.

Mr. Esrock also expressed gratitude for his time at Health First, and noted accomplishments such as the beginning of construction of a new $410 million Cape Canaveral Hospital and medical office complex, the outlet reported. 

Mr. Esrock has spent seven years total at Health First, according to his LinkedIn page. He was previously CEO of Health First's hospital division and CEO of Melbourne, Fla.-based Holmes Regional Medical Center.

Health First suffered financial losses during the pandemic and posted a loss of $169.7 million for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2022, according to Florida Today. The system regained some balance during its second fiscal quarter in early 2023, however, seeing an overall profit of $33.7 million, the outlet said.

An April 22 news release from Health First said the organization operates four hospitals, a multispecialty medical group, health plans and ancillary services.


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