Christopher Howard Named as Sharp HealthCare President and CEO
Former SSM Health COO chosen following nationwide search to replace retiring CEO Mike Murphy.
The Sharp HealthCare Board of Directors has selected Christopher Howard as the organization's next president and CEO, after a comprehensive search process that included candidates from health care organizations across the nation.
For the past 23 years, Howard has served in numerous leadership positions with St. Louis-based SSM Health, a $7 billion comprehensive integrated health care delivery system composed of 24 owned hospitals, 25 affiliated hospitals, 40,000 employees, 10,000 affiliated physicians, a health plan and numerous other provider components.
Howard's most recent role at SSM was as chief operations officer (COO). Prior to that, he served as SSM's president of Hospital Operations, overseeing 16 acute-care hospitals and the related integrated operations in four states. Additionally, he served as president of SSM Health St. Louis, overseeing SSM's flagship region encompassing $1.6 billion in revenue, six acute-care hospitals, two specialty hospitals and their affiliated medical groups and managed care operations.
"After conducting an extensive search over the past eight months, Sharp's Board of Directors determined that Chris is indeed the right person to be the next leader of our organization," said Richard Freeman, immediate past chair of Sharp's board and current chair of its executive search committee. "He brings a wealth of experience from one of the most respected integrated health care delivery systems in the country, and he is highly regarded for his leadership in health care quality and safety, patient experience, organizational culture and business strategy."
"I am excited and honored to join the Sharp HealthCare system," said Howard. "I have followed Sharp's reputation and achievements and they have been remarkable. I look forward to being a part of the Sharp leadership team and to help advance their vision to be the best place for employees to work, the best place for physicians to practice medicine and the best place for patients to receive care."
Howard received a Master of Science in health care administration, a Master of Arts and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oklahoma. He is also a Fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives and has served in various membership roles in the American Hospital Association, Medical Group Management Association, St. Louis Regional Chamber and others.
Howard, who will join Sharp effective Jan. 31, 2019, will replace Sharp's long-time president and CEO Mike Murphy, who has served in his role for the past 22 years and will retire on March 1, 2019.
Under Murphy's leadership, Sharp became a nationally recognized health care system known for clinical excellence, patient safety and experience, innovation, cultural excellence and financial strength. During his tenure, Sharp grew from $745 million in annual revenue in 1996 to more than $3.4 billion today.
Sharp has become San Diego County's largest health care provider with four acute-care hospitals, three specialty hospitals, three affiliated medical groups and a health plan.
Sharp is now San Diego's largest non-governmental employer with more than 18,000 employees, more than 2,600 affiliated physicians and provides more than 29 percent of the county's in-patient admissions.
"We are very excited to have Chris as the next president and CEO of Sharp HealthCare, and we are very confident that his knowledge, experience and energy will be instrumental in moving us forward in our efforts to be San Diego's health care leader," said Lori Moore, chair, Sharp HealthCare Board of Directors.