Construction of the 200,000-square-foot Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway will be overseen by a new CEO and president as Baptist Health announced Monday, its current president and CEO Russell D. Harrington Jr. will retire July 1, and senior vice president of administrative services Troy Wells will take on the role.

Baptist Health said Harrington would continue to serve the organization in the role of president emeritus and senior advisor after he retires.

"It has been an honor to be a part of this healing ministry and be able to serve the health-care needs of our state for 40 years," Harrington said in a news release. "I am proud of the success we have been able to achieve as an organization and consider it a privilege to have had the opportunity to work with so many skilled physicians, dedicated caregivers and committed staff."

Under Harrington’s leadership, Baptist Health has grown to include eight hospitals with approximately 1,380 beds. In November, the organization announced plans to build its ninth hospital off Interstate 40 in Conway.

Harrington held a number of hospital leadership positions before being promoted to Baptist Health’s president and CEO in 1984, including associate executive director of Baptist Health, assistant administrator and administrator of Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock, executive director of Baptist Memorial Hospital in Kansas City and administrative assistant at University Hospital in Little Rock.

Baptist Health’s board of trustees also announced other promotions to Baptist Health’s executive team following Harrington’s retirement. Doug Weeks will move from senior vice president of hospital operations to the position of executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Bob Roberts will add executive vice president to his current title of chief financial officer.

"For several years our board has been aware of and planned for this transition," said Jim Jones, chairman of Baptist Health’s board of trustees. "We have been engaged in a structured and disciplined process to identify an effective leadership team for Baptist Health and to fill the sizable shoes Russ Harrington is leaving behind."

"Fortunately, with a strong executive group already in place, our process has been an internal one," Jones said. "The board of trustees has the highest level of confidence that this is an experienced and capable executive management team that will lead Baptist Health into the future."

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