Hospital CEO Bill Caldwell leaving Wilson for new job in Pennsylvania

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After four years at Wilson Medical Center, CEO Bill Caldwell will be heading north for a job within the Duke LifePoint Healthcare network to lead a four-hospital system in Pennsylvania.

“I love the Wilson community, I love the people at the medical center and those people are what I’ll miss most,” Caldwell said. “I think Wilson is a wonderful community and I don’t think people who have lived here a long time really appreciate how special of a community it is.

“This is bittersweet.”

Caldwell will replace Steve Tucker, who is set to retire in September as the CEO of Conemaugh Health System. He said he’s looking forward to the challenges posed by managing four hospitals, including a graduate-level education program, a Level 1 trauma center and a regional neonatal center.

“This position continues my focus around what they are already doing well and improving aspects like quality and patient safety,” he said.

In addition to the career challenge, he said the position will allow he and his wife to be nearer to her aging parents. The move means Caldwell will step down from a variety of community organizations, including serving as the chairman of the Wilson Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

“Bill has been a phenomenal leader, not just at the chamber but throughout the community,” said chamber President Ryan Simons. “He’s led with a steady hand and manages within the difficulties of the health care system. And he’s brought that leadership competency to the chamber and has been a real asset for us.”

Once Caldwell steps down, the chair-elect — Anita Jones of Anita’s Marketing – will serve in an interim capacity until being appointed chairwoman at the annual meeting in January.

“From the chamber’s perspective, we congratulate Bill on his new position and know he will be missed,” Simons said.

“In his short time in Wilson, he’s contributed to the community and he’ll leave a void.”

Caldwell said Wilson Medical Center will start the process of finding a replacement with his own final day dictated in part by the search for a new CEO and by Tucker’s Sept. 7 retirement in Pennsylvania.

“We’ve done a lot of really good things since I came in 2014,” he said. “Certainly the transition to Duke LifePoint is one of them, but we’ve also worked on improving quality, patient safety and patient outcomes, which are ongoing efforts. We’ve just gotten the master facility plan off the ground and I’m hoping that will serve the community well.”