Why a gradual transition to CEO works for this 35-year leader

Kevin England has held various roles in his 35 years with Memorial Health, a five-hospital health system in Central Illinois. He told Becker's this experience has prepared him for the next position: CEO. 

"I know the organization very well," Mr. England said. "The leadership team and colleagues know me extremely well, and I've been part of the community. 

"I was raised in Springfield, Ill., which is one of the communities where we have one of our hospital affiliates and is the location of our central office. So I've been in the community for my entire life. I have a lot of relationships with our community partners, with our physician partners. So I feel that I'm well-positioned to step into the role as CEO."

Mr. England, who currently serves as senior vice president and chief administrative officer, will become president of Memorial Health in July. Ed Curtis, the organization's current president and CEO, will assume the title of Memorial Health CEO at that time. 

Mr. England, who will report to Mr. Curtis, is expected to be named president and CEO within a year, when Mr. Curtis retires, according to the health system.

It's all part of a succession plan for the CEO role that has been in the works since last year, when Mr. Curtis discussed his retirement plans with the board. The board approved the plan on March 20.

"Our board of directors put in place a very robust succession planning process that is really used for all senior leadership positions across our health system," said Mr. England. "And the CEO position is no exception to that."

This planning has allowed Memorial to adequately ensure effective and stable and smooth transitions among its senior leadership positions, he said.

Mr. England also commended the board for its role in the succession planning process.

"It's an extremely well-thought out and robust succession planning process that the board did not miss a beat with," he said. "And it was well-executed all the way up to the point of developing an execution of a communication plan that was put out following the decision."

Prior to July 1, he said he plans to engage in discussions with leaders to ensure there is an organizational structure in place that makes sense and positions Memorial well for success moving forward.

He also is thinking about his priorities for the organization. He said he is seeking to focus on opportunities for Memorial to leverage the use of technology to make it easier for colleagues and physicians to do their work, and for patients to access their services. 

Mr. England said it's also important that the organization continues to strengthen and further relationships with physician partners to allow continued revenue growth for the health system. 

Additionally, "we're going to have to continue to invest in our workforce so that we can continue to serve the community for many years to come," he said. "And that's going to be investments in recruitment of professionals that are needed to deliver the care that we need to provide to patients. And also focusing on retention in the work environment so that we can retain the staff that we need to meet our needs."

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