Hutcheson Medical Center board members did not have to look far for a new chief operating officer.
Farrell Hayes, who has served as the Fort Oglethorpe hospital's chief financial officer since May 2012, was tapped to be the hospital's COO Wednesday, effective immediately.
Hayes will replace Roger Forgey, an Erlanger Health System executive who on Oct. 31 announced he would retire Nov. 30 as the hospital's president and CEO. Forgey remains an Erlanger employee but there is no information on his new role with Erlanger. Forgey resigned from Hutcheson Wednesday.
Hospital employees learned about the leadership change in an email Wednesday. The hospital continues its search for permanent CEO. In the meantime, Hayes will fulfill the CEO duties.
Forgey took the helm of Hutcheson in February 2012 as part of the management agreement Erlanger inked with Hutcheson. Board members credited Forgey with helping stabilize the hospital's financial free fall and rekindling relationships with physicians.
In August, Hutcheson board members decided to cut ties with Erlanger. The hospital board has requested proposals from other health care providers to take over the hospital's management.
The board also hopes to convince Catoosa, Walker and Dade counties to sell low-interest bonds to refinance Hutcheson's roughly $60 million in debt.
Hayes has a history with Hutcheson. He joined Hutcheson in 1976 as a staff accountant and was promoted to chief financial officer the following year, according to the hospital's website.
In 1982, he became chief operations officer and served as both chief financial officer and chief operating officer until 1987, the website states, when he left Hutcheson to form Healthcorp, an investment firm that purchased multiple hospitals, including North Park Hospital in Chattanooga.