Chuck Stokes, president and CEO of Memorial Hermann Health System, announced his retirement.

By Chris Mathews  – Reporter, Houston Business Journal

Feb 27, 2019, 3:51pm EST

Chuck Stokes, CEO and president of Houston-based Memorial Hermann Health System, will step down at the end of the year, according to an internal memo from the hospital system.

Stokes was named CEO of Memorial Hermann — Houston’s largest nonprofit health care system — in July 2017. He joined Memorial Hermann in 2008 from North Mississippi Medical Center, where he served as president. Stokes served as executive vice president and COO before being named interim CEO in June 2017, following the departure of Dr. Benjamin Chu.

“I have penned many memos in my 40-year career, but none as difficult as this,” Stokes said in a Feb. 27 memo to employees. “It is with bittersweet emotions and profound gratitude that today I announce my decision to retire at the end of this calendar year.”

Stokes wrote that Memorial Hermann system board has retained the services of “a leading executive search firm,” which will be considering both internal and external candidates. Stokes will continue to serve as CEO until his successor is named, per the memo.

On Feb. 5, it was announced that the planned merger between Memorial Hermann and Dallas-based nonprofit health giant Baylor Scott & White Health was called off. The merger would have created the largest nonprofit health care system in the state of Texas with combined revenue of $14.4 billion. Had they combined, the two hospital systems would have operated 68 hospital campuses and more than 1,100 care-delivery sites with nearly 14,000 employed, independent and academic physicians. The two systems have more than 73,000 employees across more than 30 Texas counties. The terms of the deal were not disclosed when the merger was originally announced.