Erlanger's Will Jackson a finalist in South Florida hospital CEO search

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Erlanger CEO Dr. Will Jackson makes a comment. Erlanger's first in-person board meeting since before COVID was held on June 24, 2021. The board voted to approve the FY22 budget at this meeting.

Dr. Will Jackson, president and CEO of Erlanger Health System, is one of four finalists in the CEO search for one of South Florida's largest public hospitals.

In March, Memorial Healthcare System - a $2.3 billion health care network situated between Fort Lauderdale and Miami - interviewed a pool of candidates to replace outgoing CEO Aurelio Fernandez, who will retire at the end of April, according to a Wednesday announcement on the health system's website.

A March 10 article from the Miami Herald states that Memorial Healthcare's board retained a health care recruiting firm to start searching for potential CEO replacements in October 2021, and 10 candidates were scheduled for the first round of interviews March 16 and 17.

According to Wednesday's announcement, the three candidates that remain in addition to Jackson are: Jonathan W. Curtright, CEO, University of Missouri Health Care; Edward Jimenez, CEO, University of Florida Health; and K. Scott Wester, president and CEO, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.

"The board will be inviting four of these candidates for an in-person interview in the coming weeks, and these interview notices will be publicly posted on mhs.net," the announcement states, adding that the board will select a new CEO following the in-person interviews.

Erlanger officials declined to comment for this story.

Being tapped to lead the South Florida hospital would be an even larger task for Jackson than leading Erlanger, the Chattanooga region's largest and only public hospital, which brings in more than $1 billion net revenue annually and employs roughly 6,300 full- and part-time workers.

Memorial Healthcare System includes six hospitals, urgent care centers, a nursing home and 14,000 full-time employees. It is a public, nonprofit hospital system governed by the South Broward Hospital District Board of Commissioners, a seven-member district board appointed by the governor, according to the health system's website.

Jackson, Erlanger's former chief medical officer, became Erlanger's CEO in Sept. 2019.

Though he had never been a CEO, Erlanger's board members said at the time the fact that Jackson is a physician weighed heavily into their decision to choose him for that role.

Contact Elizabeth Fite at efite@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6673. Follow her on Twitter @ecfite.