Donald MacNaughton, a longtime HCA board member and executive and mentor to HCA co-founder Thomas Frist Jr., M.D., has died. MacNaughton was 85. He had retired as president, CEO and chairman of Prudential Financial when he joined what was then known as Hospital Corp. of America as chairman and CEO in 1978. He held positions within the company until 1988, when he agreed to be chairman of the executive committee of HCA spinoff HealthTrust, Nashville. MacNaughton remained in that role until 1991, when he became a consultant to HealthTrust. He rejoined the board of what was then Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. in 1995, when Columbia/HCA purchased HealthTrust. He retired from the board in May 1998. MacNaughton also was chairman of Meharry Medical College, Nashville, and served as an honorary board member of Harvard Medical School, Boston.
Frist said MacNaughton was brought in as a mentor while Frist prepared to take the reins as CEO, which he did in 1981. MacNaughton formed a connection between his old stomping grounds, the world of New York finance, and his new endeavor in the Southeast, he said. "He brought immense credibility not only to HCA but to a fledgling new industry, investor-owned hospitals," Frist said. "He brought credibility to Nashville, too." -- by Vince Galloro