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White River Health System Announces CEO Retirement, Names Next CEO

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White River Health System CEO Gary Bebow has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31.

He has served as CEO for nearly 28 years, since January 1991.

Gary Paxson will succeed Bebow on Jan. 1. During the transition, he will assume immediate responsibility for system reporting and organizational leadership responsibilities.

Paxson has 23 years of health care experience. His career includes positions in nursing, health care information systems and executive management.

Paxson joined WRMC in 2012 as CIO. In 2015, he was named chief quality officer.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Saint Anthony College of Nursing in Rockford, Illinois, and a master’s degree information system management with a health care administration concentration from Bellevue University in Bellevue, Nebraska.

WRHS said Tuesday that Bebow’s vision and expertise guided it through exponential growth in admissions, financial performance, facility development, physician recruitment and employment. Today, the Batesville health system includes two hospitals; outpatient care centers; Arkansas’ first satellite emergency room; rural health, primary care and specialty clinics; and senior life centers.

For the past eight months, WRHS has overseen the transition in leadership. It formed a succession planning committee to ensure a smooth transition and selecting the best successor.

In January, Bebow will continue to serve WRHS as an advisor to Paxson and the system’s board of directors.

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