Four months after David Stringfield stepped down as Baptist Hospital's president and chief executive officer, the hospital's board has ousted him as chairman and senior vice president, citing his high salary.
The 27-member board of one of Nashville's most prestigious not-for-profit hospitals voted Nov. 19 to remove Stringfield, saying the action was part of its continuing efforts to control costs at the 545-bed facility.
Stringfield, 59, was the only board member receiving a salary. He'll remain an unpaid trustee. Ken Voss, board vice chairman, will be acting chairman until someone new is elected.
Baptist Hospital and its four satellite hospitals enjoyed a collective $19.5 million profit on revenues of about $279.8 million in the fiscal year ended June 30, 1997, according to figures from the Tennessee health department. The hospital has not performed as well in 1998, said spokeswoman Debby Koch, who declined to reveal specifics. "I think we have some financial challenges that we're trying to bring in line so we can be stable for the future," she said.
Koch said Stringfield's removal was part of the board's plan to review all executive compensation packages at the hospital. Stringfield's salary, which she would not disclose, was tied to his position as senior vice president.
According to the hospital's Form 990, its annual tax filing with the Internal Revenue Service, Stringfield earned $632,758 last year in total compensation-including salary and benefits-as Baptist's president and CEO. His salary as senior vice president won't be publicly available until next year.
Like his predecessors in the chairman position, Stringfield's replacement will not be paid, Koch said.
In another matter, Baptist is investigating whether Gerald Hemmer, the hospital's construction chief, received kickbacks from builders in return for awarding them construction jobs at the hospital, Koch said. Hemmer is on administrative leave without pay while an internal investigation continues, Koch said. He did not return phone calls.
Stringfield's removal had nothing to do with the Hemmer investigation, Koch said.
After 16 years at the helm, Stringfield stepped down as Baptist's president and CEO in July, to become board chairman. At the time, Stringfield said he would concentrate on the hospital's long-range plans, including possible mergers and other partnerships.
Longtime hospital executive Erie Chapman replaced Stringfield Oct. 1 as the hospital's president and CEO. Chapman had no comment on the hospital's recent developments, Koch said. Stringfield was not available for comment.