Lehigh Valley Health Network President and CEO Ronald W. Swinfard, M.D., has announced he will be retiring at the end of June.
Brian A. Nester, D.O., the network’s chief strategy officer, was named acting president and CEO, beginning July 1.
Swinfard became president and CEO in November 2010, succeeding longtime president and CEO Elliot J. Sussman, M.D. The network has hospitals and outpatient centers throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley and more than 10,000 employees.
The health network’s board of trustees accepted Swinfard’s retirement.
“Dr. Swinfard has prepared our organization for the future of health care and leaves us in a good position to face this ever-changing landscape,” said William F. Hecht, chairman of LVHN’s board of trustees.
The board is preparing a succession plan to find Swinfard’s replacement.
Speaking to Lehigh Valley Business, Swinfard said this morning that he is proud of several of his accomplishments during his nearly four-year tenure at the helm of the health network.
He said getting LVHN involved with the Allspire Consortium as a member of the seven health-network group was a major accomplishment.
“That’s really gaining hold and gaining traction,” he said.
He also said the acquisition of the Greater Hazleton Health Alliance and its integration into the health network was another proud moment, as was the health network’s involvement with developing a sports medicine and fitness office in Allentown’s One City Center.
“It’s good to be a part of that economic development,” he said of the ongoing Downtown Allentown revitalization.
His reasons for retiring are quite simple. He and his wife want to travel.
“I’m healthy, and I intend to stay that way,” Swinfard said.
He said there have been a number of tragic deaths among his group of friends at the hospital, and he decided life was short and that it was time to take the leap.
“I don’t want my epitaph to read ‘I wish I had worked one more day,” he said.
Swinfard noted that he had already booked a trip to St. Maarten for the end of June, and since he was able to make the arrangements to retire, he will be able to stay for a while.
He said he and his wife would like to tour Europe after the trip to the Caribbean.
“My wife and I love to travel, and we love each other, so that is important,” he said.
Swinfard said he has no direct plans to go back into the health care field after his travel itinerary is complete.
“I don’t have any destination in mind. I’d consider it, but I’m not seeking it,” Swinfard said.