Charles O'Brien Jr., architect of the financially troubled West Penn Allegheny Health System, resigned as president and CEO, effective immediately. Jerry Fedele, the six-hospital system's senior vice president and general counsel succeeds him. The board felt "a different set of leadership skills would benefit our healthcare system" at a crucial stage in its evolution, officials said in a written statement. In a related move, officials also announced that system CFO David Samuel withdrew his resignation and will remain with the system full time. West Penn Allegheny was formed in 2000 in an attempt to revive the local affiliates of the bankrupt Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation through a financing of $476 million in junk bonds. The system took a turn for the worse in the third quarter of fiscal 2003, posting a deficit of $34.4 million for the nine months ended March 31. Officials said O'Brien's resignation is unrelated to the financial situation. "It's no secret that we had a very difficult third quarter, but we've showed a marked improvement since," said Tom Chakurda, the system's spokesman. -- by Cinda Becker
West Penn Allegheny CEO resigns, CFO to stay
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