Sparrow Health CEO placed on leave amid misconduct allegations

Sparrow Health CEO E.W. Tibbs Jr. has been placed on paid administrative leave after allegations of sexual misconduct were made public earlier this week, according to NBC affiliate WILX 10 News.

The Lansing, Mich.-based health system released a statement March 13 concerning the allegations against Mr. Tibbs.

"We have been made aware of allegations against Mr. E.W. Tibbs Jr. that occurred prior to his employment at Sparrow. These allegations are disturbing to us and we are taking immediate action. Effective immediately, the Sparrow board has placed Mr. Tibbs Jr. on paid administrative leave pending further thorough investigation. This move will have no impact on our patients or staff who provide such great care for our community," the spokesperson said.

The statement also noted that Joe Ruth, Sparrow's executive vice president and COO, has been appointed acting president and CEO, effective immediately.

Mr. Tibbs was named in a lawsuit filed earlier this week by Stephanie Hale, a former employee of Lynchburg, Va.-based Centra Health. Mr. Tibbs served as chief executive of the organization for five years before resigning in October 2018 and moving to Sparrow Health System the following month.

The lawsuit claims Mr. Tibbs stalked, sexually harassed and intimidated Ms. Hale, and that he later sexually assaulted and negligently injured her in 2017.

Centra Health said in a March 12 email to employees that it has begun an internal investigation into Mr. Tibbs. 

A Centra Health spokesperson released a second statement on the issue March 14, obtained by WILX 10 News:

"As soon as we were made aware of the allegations involving personal conduct by our former CEO, we began an internal review to determine whether they have any merit.

"We are working with an independent third party to conduct a formal investigation of the alleged claims. We are not able to comment directly on the lawsuit at this time, except to say that these are very serious allegations that require an appropriate level of due diligence.

"Centra operates under a strict code of conduct and we expect all members of our team to exemplify those high standards."

To access the full report, click here.

Editor's note: This article was updated at 11:30 a.m. March 14 to include additional comment from Centra Health.

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