April 22, 2011 | last updated May 31, 2012 5:43 pm

Betts out as Johnson Memorial CEO

Peter J. Betts has quit as chief executive officer of Stafford's Johnson Memorial Medical Center, the hospital said Friday.

Betts said his resignation was spurred by a disagreement he had with the rest of his management team over how to implement the hospital's strategic plan.

The hospital's chief operating officer, David Morgan, has been appointed the interim CEO.

Betts' sudden resignation came less than a year after the hospital's board of directors asked him to permanently take the job.

While management agreed on the overarching goals of the institution's long-term strategy they did not agree on how to prioritize them, Betts said.

"There was a difference of opinion," said Betts, adding that he is disappointed over his sudden departure. "I decided the best thing for me to do was move on and keep the rest of the team in place."

Betts would not elaborate on what specific disagreements existed among senior management.

Prior to his appointment as the permanent chief executive, Betts was interim CEO, a position he started in June 2008 when he was brought in to help restructure the institution after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Johnson Memorial emerged from bankruptcy in October as an independent organization, a surprising turnaround for the company, which Betts predicted in 2008 likely would not survive long-term without a merger.

In an interview with the Hartford Business Journal last August, Betts said he expected to be the hospital's CEO for at least the next three years.

Betts has agreed to the board's request to remain available to offer advice and perspectives as needed.

During his tenure, hospital officials say Betts implemented many recommendations designed to ease JMMC's financial distress, including cost reductions and revenue enhancements.

Under his leadership, the center invested more than $10 million -- without borrowing -- to expand and implement new services and acquire new equipment.

"Peter's accomplishments during the past three years have been remarkable. He and the entire JMMC team surprised many who thought a turnaround of this magnitude was impossible," said Gary J. Roman, chairman of the JMMC board of directors. "Peter assembled an excellent executive team, but we have reached a point where there are differences in opinion among the executive team as to the implementation of the strategic plan."

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