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Analysis

Erlanger Gives Departed CEO Kevin Spiegel 12 Months' Salary, Names His Successor

By Steven Porter  
   September 19, 2019

The top executive's departure came after months of conflict with the nonprofit's physicians. 

The board of trustees for Erlanger Health System, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, finalized the recent departure of President and CEO Kevin Spiegel, FACHE, and named a new top executive for the nonprofit health system during a special meeting Wednesday.

Under the terms of his separation agreement, Spiegel will receive 12 months' salary—that's $964,000, after a raise last year, as the Times Free Press reported—plus cash to cover the cost of continuing his health insurance benefits, according to a statement from Erlanger board chairman Mike Griffin.

"On behalf of the Board, I want to express our appreciation for Kevin's vision and efforts surrounding our impressive growth and presence throughout the region," Griffin said in the statement. "He has made many valuable contributions over the past six years and, on behalf of the Board, we wish him, his wife and their family all the best going forward."

Spiegel's exit came after months of conflict with the system's physicians.

Erlanger was in the midst of "a challenging time" when Spiegel rose to lead the organization in 2013, then he oversaw a number of accomplishments, including the addition of a new patient tower and services at Erlanger East Hospital, The Erlanger Kennedy Children's Outpatient Center, Heart & Lung Institute, The Orthopedic Institute, The Erlanger Behavioral Health Hospital, and the acquisition of Western Carolina Hospital, according to the statement.

The hospital improved its financial position and made big investments in information technology systems, according to the statement.

After approving Spiegel's separation agreement, the board appointed William L. Jackson Jr., MD, MBA, as the system's new president and CEO. Jackson had been Erlanger's chief medical officer for nearly four years.

"We have every confidence that he will continue Erlanger's movement in a positive direction and strengthen relationships inside the health system and in the many communities we serve," Griffin said.

Jackson served previously as CMO for Alexandria Hospital at Inova Health System in Virginia.

The board opted to give Jackson a one-year contract, rather than naming him CEO on an interim basis.

"To go with the uncertainty of an interim title would put Erlanger in a position of not being able to move forward," trustee Gerald Webb said, as Elizabeth Fite reported for the Times Free Press.

Related: Every Hospital Board Needs a CEO Succession Plan. Half Are Failing.

Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

The departing leader will also receive cash to cover the cost of continuing his health insurance.

Rather than naming an interim CEO, the board opted to give the new leader a one-year contract.


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