Originally created 03/03/00

Hospital chief leaves for North Carolina job



One of University Hospital's top officials is leaving to take over a North Carolina hospital system.

Richard Parks, chief executive officer of University Health Services and Extended Care, will become chief executive officer of Cape Fear Valley Health System in Fayetteville, N.C.

Mr. Parks was approved Thursday by the hospital system's board and the Cumberland County Commission, which owns the hospital system. Mr. Parks, 44, replaces retiring CEO John Carlisle.

Mr. Parks has accepted the job offer but has not set a departure date, though it will probably be within 60 days, he said.

"It's just an opportunity I really can't pass up," Mr. Parks said. The whole thing started around Thanksgiving when he was contacted by the executive search firm Witt/Kieffer, and he has been interviewing for weeks.

While the Cape Fear system may be slightly larger than University, there is a similarity that was appealing, Mr. Parks said. The size of the communities is also similar and also a draw, Mr. Parks said.

"I thought I'd be happy as well as my family," he said. As head of University Health Services, Mr. Parks reported to the board and to University Health Care System Chief Executive Officer J. Larry Read.

"There, I'll be the No. 1 person," he said.

Mr. Parks joined University in 1992 as executive vice president and chief operating officer. He has been most visible as University's point person in negotiating with the Augusta Commission for indigent care funding.

Though he will still be dealing with county commissioners in his new role, he said, he would not have to ask them for indigent care money. The hospital receives no money from the county.

He and his wife are natives of North Augusta, and his departure caught many by surprise.

"A lot of people probably didn't think I would leave, but it was just an opportunity that was too significant to pass up," Mr. Parks said. "I'm very happy here in Augusta. I'm not running from anything."

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213.