FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Forrest Health future president and chief executive officer was introduced at the Forrest County Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday.
Andy Woodard, who was approved to succeed current president and CEO Even Dillard, was present at the meeting to discuss the hospital's budget for the coming year.
Dillard, who began his tenure in 2008, will be replaced by Woodard, the current chief financial officer, beginning in January 2019. The two plan to work together to ensure a smooth transition.
"We are most grateful for Evan's service and outstanding contributions to Forrest Health," said Rick Preusch, Forrest Health board chairman. "Under his leadership, Forrest Health has become the top performing health system in Mississippi with a defined path for continued growth and success. In this very thoughtful and deliberate succession plan, the Board of Trustees feel confident the leadership transition will be seamless for one of our community's most prized organizations."
Under Dillard's leadership, Forrest Health grew from a single county hospital to a regional health system with six hospital campuses, three specialty hospitals and numerous patient clinics.
"My time at Forrest Health has been a true capstone to my career in healthcare," Dillard said. "Since 2008, the Hattiesburg community and the Forrest Health family have been incredibly welcoming to me and my family. I am so proud of the team that we have built and the unmatched care we provide our patients every day. Forrest Health will be lucky to have Andy as its new leader, and I will work closely with him over the coming year in this transition."
Woodard has served in various leadership roles at Forrest Health since 2001, including leading the team's strategic plan for many years.
"The Board of Trustees is confident in the selection of Andy Woodard to be the next great leader of Forrest Health," said Preusch. "He is a native son and the finest young healthcare executive in the region."
To begin the transition, Dillard will first step down from his role as president on Oct. 1, 2017, at which time Woodard will become president with Dillard remaining CEO. The two will share senior leadership roles for the next 17 months to ensure a smooth transition.
"Forrest Health has been my home for many years," said Woodard. "I am thankful for Evan and all that I have learned from his leadership over the years. I am proud of what we've built together and am excited for what the future has in store for Forrest Health and the communities we serve."