Monday, September 26, 2011
The board of trustees of Novant Health announced today that its longtime president and chief executive officer, Paul M. Wiles, will retire at the end of 2011. The board also announced that Carl S. Armato, currently the organization’s senior executive vice president and chief operating officer, has been named to succeed Wiles. Armato will assume his new role on January 1, 2012.
Wiles and the board of trustees began a process more than one year ago to plan for his retirement. Today’s announcement culminates that process. Wiles will be retiring after 41 years of dedicated service to the not-for-profit health system and to the hospitals and organizations that preceded the formation of Novant Health in 1997. Armato has served in leadership positions with the organization for the past 13 years and was promoted nine months ago to his current position.
“As chair of Novant Health’s board of trustees, I’m excited about this news on two levels,” explained Lisa S. Evans, MD. “Over the next three months, we all will have the opportunity to honor and celebrate Paul’s strong and visionary leadership of Novant Health and his many contributions to the healthcare industry, and to wish him all the best during retirement. In addition, we are very excited about Carl’s appointment as the system’s next president and chief executive officer.”
Wiles joined the organization in 1970 as a hospital administrative resident while he was still in graduate school and then advanced to vice president of professional services and later to senior vice president & chief operating officer of Forsyth Medical Center. In 1985, Wiles was named president and chief executive officer of Carolina Medicorp and Forsyth Medical Center, the Winston-Salem based predecessor organizations of Novant Health. He became president and CEO of Novant Health in 1997 when Carolina Medicorp and Forsyth Medical Center merged with Presbyterian Healthcare in Charlotte to form a new not-for-profit health system.
Wiles, 64, currently serves on the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Public Health Advisory Council and the North Carolina Hospital Association’s Center for Hospital Quality & Patient Safety Advisory Board. In addition, he is a past board chairman of the North Carolina Hospital Association and the national VHA, a shared services company that serves 1,400 not-for-profit hospitals and approximately 24,000 other healthcare organizations. Wiles also serves on a number of community boards and committees.
When he began his career, the organization consisted of one hospital with annual revenues of $20 million. Today, the health system’s annual revenues total $3.5 billion.
“Under Paul’s leadership, Novant Health has grown rapidly from its origins as a stand-alone hospital into a four-state health system with 25,000 employees, 13 hospitals and one of the largest medical groups in the nation with 360 clinic sites,” Evans noted. “While that growth is important, it’s not the primary source of pride for Paul and his staff. Novant has become a national leader in improving the quality and safety of patient care. And the organization lives its not-for-profit mission of serving communities and reaching out to vulnerable people who need assistance. For Paul and his team, fulfilling this mission is, and has been, the most important goal.”
Armato, age 46, joined Novant in 1998 as the vice president of finance and operations for the health system’s physician clinic division, now known as the Novant Medical Group. He then served as senior vice president of materials management and logistics. In 2003, Armato was appointed chief operating officer of Presbyterian Healthcare. One year later, he was promoted to president and chief executive officer of Presbyterian. In 2008, he assumed a system-wide role as an executive vice president and was named Novant Health’s chief operating officer in February of this year.
Prior to joining Novant Health, Armato was a vice president with General Health System in Baton Rouge, La. Early in his career, he worked as a tax and audit consultant for Ernst & Young in Baton Rouge. Armato is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He currently serves as the board chairman of the Mecklenburg Citizens for Public Education and has volunteered in other civic roles involving scouting and the heart association.
Robert Gordon, a member of the Novant Health board of trustees and chairman of its leadership committee, led the succession planning process. He explained that Wiles and the board began early to prepare the organization for a transition in leadership.
“In today’s unstable economic environment and with all of the changes the healthcare field is facing, it’s very important to maintain momentum when leadership changes occur inside an organization as complex as a large integrated health system,” Gordon said. “By sharing his retirement plans with us early on, Paul allowed the board the time to very thoughtfully select a new president and chief executive officer and to create the opportunity for Carl to work more closely with Paul during an overlapping transition period.”
Gordon explained that the Novant board has held regular management succession discussions with Wiles over the years and after learning of his planned retirement date, the board followed a comprehensive and disciplined selection process that included the following major components: a thorough review of the emerging healthcare environment; affirming the organization’s strategic direction; and defining the experiences, skills and personal characteristics needed by the organization’s next president and CEO so that the board could effectively assess candidates.
To guide the board through this process, the trustees hired an advisor who had been a senior principal with an international executive search firm and who had also headed its healthcare practice. The board examined the pros and cons of searching for candidates outside the organization and concluded that an external search was unnecessary. The board unanimously agreed that Armato met its requirements and had already earned the respect of the board and the Novant organization.
“Without question, Paul will leave behind some very big shoes to fill when he retires,” Gordon commented. “But the board is confident that Carl is ready to step into that role and to successfully lead the organization into the future.”
Wiles agreed with Gordon’s assessment of Armato. “Since Carl joined Novant, he has repeatedly demonstrated a remarkable ability to engage frontline staff and physicians in a meaningful way. He formed and led strategies to create partnerships with physicians and provide them with a meaningful voice in our operations and planning. He combines visionary thinking with passionate inspiration.”
Armato emphasized that he passionately believes in the strategic direction of the organization. “Several years ago Novant Health adopted a new vision under Paul’s leadership, ‘to deliver the most remarkable patient experience, in every dimension, every time.’ That’s a lofty objective but it’s also the precise goal we should be aspiring to achieve. I want every patient who has an encounter with our organization to experience that commitment.”
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Novant Health is a not-for-profit, integrated health system of 13 hospitals and a medical group consisting of 1,117 physicians in 359 clinic locations, caring for patients and communities in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia. Hospitals include the following: Presbyterian Hospital, Presbyterian Orthopaedic Hospital, Presbyterian Hospital Matthews and Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville in the Charlotte, NC area; Forsyth Medical Center and Medical Park Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC; Kernersville Medical Center, Kernersville, NC; Thomasville Medical Center, Thomasville, NC; Brunswick Novant Medical Center, Bolivia, NC; Rowan Regional Medical Center, Salisbury, NC; Franklin Regional Medical Center, Louisburg, NC; Upstate Carolina Medical Center, Gaffney, SC; and Prince William Hospital, Manassas, Va. Other Novant facilities and programs include outpatient surgery centers, medical plazas, rehabilitation programs, diagnostic imaging centers and community health outreach programs. Novant Health is ranked 14th nationally among the 2011 Top 100 Integrated Healthcare Networks, according to an analysis by the SDI health informatics company.
KEY DATES & EVENTS:
1970 – Wiles joins Forsyth Memorial Hospital as a Duke graduate student
1971 – Wiles writes thesis on consolidating women’s & children’s services; earns master of hospital administration degree from Duke
1971 – Wiles leaves for Air Force in September; first lieutenant, serving in the Medical Service Corps from 1971 to 1974.
1974 – Wiles returns to Forsyth Hospital
1977 – Consolidation of OB units at Forsyth (consolidation of Forsyth and Baptist/Wake).
1979 – Wiles becomes Forsyth COO at age 32
1984 – County deeds hospital to CMI, a 501(c)(3) organization.
1984 – Harold Koach retires; Wiles, 37, becomes Forsyth CEO
1985 – Wiles named president and chief executive officer of Carolina Medicorp and Forsyth Memorial Hospital, the predecessor organizations of Novant Health
1986 – Forsyth HMO “PARTNERS” licensed
1986 – Carolinas MediCorp Inc (CMI) acquires Medical Park Hospital
1994 – Presbyterian Hospital Matthews, a 102-bed community hospital, opens
1997 – Novant forms by the merger of Carolina Medicorp of Winston-Salem and Presbyterian Health Services of Charlotte. Wiles named first president & CEO of Novant Health
1997 – Thomasville Medical Center merges with Novant Health
1998 – Novant Health acquires full ownership of Presbyterian Orthopaedic Hospital
1998 – Armato joins Novant as VP of finance and operations of the medical group
2001 – Novant sells PARTNERS HMO to North Carolina Blue Cross Blue Shield
2003 – Armato named Presbyterian Hospital COO age 39
2004 – Armato named Presbyterian Healthcare president & CEO
2004 – Presbyterian Huntersville Hospital opens as 50-bed community hospital
2006 – Brunswick Novant Medical Center joins Novant
2007 – MedQuest Imaging joins Novant
2008 – Rowan Regional Medical Center joins Novant
2008 – Four additional Novant hospitals achieve national nursing magnet status
2008 – Novant Health receives the national Ernest A. Codman Award from The Joint Commission for successful efforts to improve hand hygiene compliance which resulted in a dramatic reduction in hospital methicillin-resistent staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection rates across the healthcare system. Novant also received this national honor in 2004.
2009 – Prince William Health System based in Manassas, Va, joins Novant
2009 – Franklin Regional Medical Center in Louisburg, NC and Upstate Carolina Medical Center in Gaffney, SC, join Novant
2009 – Novant granted CON to build a 50-bed hospital in Clemmons, N.C.
2010 – Virginia Health Commissioner approves Prince William Hospital's proposal to build a 60-bed hospital in Haymarket, Va.
2010 – Novant management named Top Leadership Team in Healthcare for Large Hospitals/Systems by HealthLeaders Media
2011 – Novant opens two new NC hospitals in the same year, something never done before in the U.S: the new 50-bed Kernersville Medical Center in Kernersville and 74-bed Brunswick Novant Medical Center in Bolivia
2011 – Armato named Novant’s senior executive vice president & COO
2011 – American Hospital Association chooses Novant Health and two other national healthcare systems for its Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence initiative. The association chose the three organizations after studying national quality data.