LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Memorial Health System of East Texas named Gary Looper president and chief executive officer Tuesday morning.
Looper served as the CEO of Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin from 2001 to 2004. He will succeed current President and CEO Bryant Krenek.
Looper will officially assume the role October 1, 2011 as Krenek transitions into a consulting position for the hospital system.
Krenek has been president and CEO of the system for nearly 10 years.
"It was, I think, my providence that Gary came on the scene," Krenek said. "We were searching for a successor. Gary came to town on another piece of business and after we had lunch together and he had some time to think about it, it was just kind of one of those natural evolutionary-type processes."
"We are pleased to welcome Gary back to East Texas," Board Chairman for Memorial Health System of East Texas Jack Sweeny said. "His vast health care experience and strong industry relations are beneficial to our hospital system as we work through the many challenges facing health care today."
Looper has served nearly 20 years as CEO of various health care organizations in Texas and Arkansas. He said the hospital system under his leadership will continue to be involved in the communities they serve.
The new CEO served most recently as the regional manage of Central Texas operations for Community Hospital Corporation. Looper said the Memorial Board has chosen to engage CHC to provide resources and brain power behind the scenes to the hospital system.
The announcement comes at a critical time in health care reform.
"The most reassuring thing I could say to this community and all the communities that we serve in Polk County and San Augustine, Angelina County is that while there is significant uncertainty about health care over the next five years especially, they should take comfort in knowing that this organization is studying that reform, studying those changes and is fully embracing those to keep this organization solid and strong through those health care reforms," Looper said.
Looper said the community will see new services, increased operating efficiency and enhanced patient safety in the future.
Looper and his wife Sheryl will reside in Hudson. They have four adult children and six grandchildren.