Saying that “an infusion of new thinking and new leadership” is needed at Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp., CEO Trevor Fetter is resigning from his roles as chairman, chief executive, and director.
In a statement, the company said Fetter would step down “at the earlier of March 15, 2018 or when a successor is appointed.” Tenet said the company’s current independent lead director, Ronald A. Rittenmeyer, will assume the role of executive chairman, becoming “the senior-most executive at the company,” effective immediately.
Tenet’s board has hired Russell Reynolds Associates to conduct a search for a new chief executive. The company has also begun to “refresh the composition of its board.” That process is to ensure the board has the “best mix of skills and experience to maximize the future value of the company,” the company said.
In a copy of his memo to his colleagues obtained by D CEO Healthcare, Fetter wrote the following:
“I am writing to inform you that I will be stepping down from my roles as chairman and chief executive officer of Tenet Healthcare and the Board of Directors has begun a search for my successor. Ron Rittenmeyer, who currently serves as our lead independent director, has assumed the role of executive chairman, leading the Board and management. To ensure a smooth transition, I will remain as CEO and a director until the earlier of March 15, 2018 or the date that a new CEO is named.
“I feel very good about Tenet’s accomplishments over the last decade as we transformed the company from a regional hospital operator to a national healthcare services leader. Because of your hard work, we are delivering excellent care to patients at nearly 600 medical facilities across the country; we are one of the premier providers of revenue cycle management services for hospitals and physicians; we are launching innovative programs to advance the transition to value-based healthcare delivery; and we are making a positive impact in the communities we serve by supporting local charities and businesses and otherwise acting as a good corporate citizen. I hope that each of you takes great pride in the work that you do every day.
“Sometimes there are occasions at a company such as Tenet when an infusion of new thinking and new leadership can better build upon the existing foundation. This is one of those moments. The healthcare industry has been undergoing rapid changes and there is ongoing uncertainty related to healthcare reform. The eventual appointment of a new CEO will allow that individual and the Board to conduct a fresh assessment of the best way to approach these challenges and guide Tenet to future success.
“The Board is working to identify the right leader to assume the CEO role as early as possible. In the meantime, it is important that business continues as usual. Each of us should continue to focus on fulfilling our commitments to our patients, business partners, and the communities in which we operate. If you are asked about these changes by anyone—especially our physicians, business partners, payers or vendors—please reiterate to them that nothing has changed in our daily work, and that Tenet and your facility continues to operate as normal.
“As always, I want to thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our patients and other customers. I am honored to have had the opportunity to lead Tenet and to support the work of our caregivers and other colleagues across the country.”