Five months after firing its top executive, Baptist Health System, Birmingham, Ala., has named longtime healthcare administrator Mary Elizabeth O'Brien as its new president and CEO. O'Brien, a 30-year healthcare veteran, replaces Dennis Hall as the top officer of the 10-hospital system, the largest in the state. She was selected as the unanimous choice of the board of trustees' search committee after members reviewed more than 150 applicants and narrowed the list to seven candidates.
O'Brien, who began her career as a nurse, was president and CEO of Catholic Healthcare West's Southern California division from 1997 to 2002. It grew to be CHW's largest region, with about 16,000 employees and an operating budget of $1.5 billion. Most recently, she was senior vice president of medical management and senior vice president of network operations for CIGNA. She will begin work at Baptist on Jan. 5, 2004. -- by Michael Romano