John Fitzgerald, president and chief executive officer of Bon Secours Health System, Marriottsville, Md., resigned unexpectedly last week after nearly seven years with the 11-hospital system.
In a written statement, Fitzgerald said he was leaving to "explore other opportunities." A Bon Secours spokesman said Fitzgerald wanted the system to expand faster than the Bon Secours congregation wanted it to grow.
"The end game was the same; it was just a matter of the speed," said Edward Boyer, Bon Secours' senior vice president for corporate services.
In 1989, Fitzgerald replaced John Brozovich, who also resigned amid disagreements over growth issues.
"(Fitzgerald) looked at the next step (for Bon Secours) as a quantum leap," Boyer said. "The sponsors are looking at smaller steps. The company probably wasn't at the point to go to the length John wanted it to go."
Last month, MODERN HEALTHCARE*reported Bon Secours and several other large Roman Catholic healthcare systems have been discussing the possibility of forming an umbrella system that could include 34 hospitals (Aug. 12, p. 8).
In an interview, Fitzgerald expressed strong support for the talks and hoped they would lead to an agreement sometime in 1997.
But Boyer said those collaborative talks had nothing to do with Fitzgerald's departure.
"We were looking at how much bigger Bon Secours is going to be," he said. "By the end of this calendar year, we will have doubled in size compared with three years ago."
Bon Secours operates 11 hospitals and six nursing homes in Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The system expects to add four hospitals in the next six months, Boyer said.
Chris Carney, Bon Secours' regional vice president for Virginia, has been appointed interim CEO until Fitzgerald's successor is chosen.