"The board of trustees of Novant Health
announced today that its longtime president and chief executive officer,
Paul M. Wiles, will retire at the end of 2011. The board also announced
that Carl S. Armato, currently the organization's senior executive vice
president and chief operating officer, has been named to succeed Wiles.
Armato will assume his new role on January 1, 2012.
Wiles and the board of trustees began a process more than one year
ago to plan for his retirement. Today's announcement culminates that
process. Wiles will be retiring after 41 years of dedicated service to
the not-for-profit health system and to the hospitals and organizations
that preceded the formation of Novant Health in 1997. Armato has served
in leadership positions with the organization for the past 13 years and
was promoted nine months ago to his current position.
"As chair of Novant Health's board of trustees, I'm excited about
this news on two levels," explained Lisa S. Evans, MD. "Over the next
three months, we all will have the opportunity to honor and celebrate
Paul's strong and visionary leadership of Novant Health and his many
contributions to the healthcare industry, and to wish him all the best
during retirement. In addition, we are very excited about Carl's
appointment as the system's next president and chief executive officer."
Wiles joined the organization in 1970 as a hospital administrative
resident while he was still in graduate school and then advanced to vice
president of professional services and later to senior vice president
& chief operating officer of Forsyth Medical Center. In 1985, Wiles
was named president and chief executive officer of Carolina Medicorp and
Forsyth Medical Center, the Winston-Salem based predecessor
organizations of Novant Health. He became president and CEO of Novant
Health in 1997 when Carolina Medicorp and Forsyth Medical Center merged
with Presbyterian Healthcare in Charlotte to form a new not-for-profit
Wiles, 64, currently serves on the University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill School of Public Health Advisory Council and the North
Carolina Hospital Association's Center for Hospital Quality &
Patient Safety Advisory Board. In addition, he is a past board chairman
of the North Carolina Hospital Association and the national VHA, a
shared services company that serves 1,400 not-for-profit hospitals and
approximately 24,000 other healthcare organizations. Wiles also serves
on a number of community boards and committees.
When he began his career, the organization consisted of one hospital
with annual revenues of $20 million. Today, the health system's annual
revenues total $3.5 billion.
"Under Paul's leadership, Novant Health has grown rapidly from its
origins as a stand-alone hospital into a four-state health system with
25,000 employees, 13 hospitals and one of the largest medical groups in
the nation with 360 clinic sites," Evans noted. "While that growth is
important, it's not the primary source of pride for Paul and his staff.
Novant has become a national leader in improving the quality and safety
of patient care. And the organization lives its not-for-profit mission
of serving communities and reaching out to vulnerable people who need
assistance. For Paul and his team, fulfilling this mission is, and has
been, the most important goal."
Armato, age 46, joined Novant in 1998 as the vice president of
finance and operations for the health system's physician clinic
division, now known as the Novant Medical Group. He then served as
senior vice president of materials management and logistics. In 2003,
Armato was appointed chief operating officer of Presbyterian Healthcare.
One year later, he was promoted to president and chief executive
officer of Presbyterian. In 2008, he assumed a system-wide role as an
executive vice president and was named Novant Health's chief operating
officer in February of this year.
Prior to joining Novant Health, Armato was a vice president with
General Health System in Baton Rouge, La. Early in his career, he worked
as a tax and audit consultant for Ernst & Young in Baton Rouge.
Armato is a certified public accountant and a member of the American
Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He currently serves as the
board chairman of the Mecklenburg Citizens for Public Education and has
volunteered in other civic roles involving scouting and the heart
Robert Gordon, a member of the Novant Health board of trustees and
chairman of its leadership committee, led the succession planning
process. He explained that Wiles and the board began early to prepare
the organization for a transition in leadership.
"In today's unstable economic environment and with all of the changes
the healthcare field is facing, it's very important to maintain
momentum when leadership changes occur inside an organization as complex
as a large integrated health system," Gordon said. "By sharing his
retirement plans with us early on, Paul allowed the board the time to
very thoughtfully select a new president and chief executive officer and
to create the opportunity for Carl to work more closely with Paul
during an overlapping transition period."
Gordon explained that the Novant board has held regular management
succession discussions with Wiles over the years and after learning of
his planned retirement date, the board followed a comprehensive and
disciplined selection process that included the following major
components: a thorough review of the emerging healthcare environment;
affirming the organization's strategic direction; and defining the
experiences, skills and personal characteristics needed by the
organization's next president and CEO so that the board could
effectively assess candidates.
To guide the board through this process, the trustees hired an
advisor who had been a senior principal with an international executive
search firm and who had also headed its healthcare practice. The board
examined the pros and cons of searching for candidates outside the
organization and concluded that an external search was unnecessary. The
board unanimously agreed that Armato met its requirements and had
already earned the respect of the board and the Novant organization.
"Without question, Paul will leave behind some very big shoes to fill
when he retires," Gordon commented. "But the board is confident that
Carl is ready to step into that role and to successfully lead the
organization into the future."
Wiles agreed with Gordon's assessment of Armato.
"Since Carl joined Novant, he has repeatedly demonstrated a
remarkable ability to engage frontline staff and physicians in a
meaningful way. He formed and led strategies to create partnerships with
physicians and provide them with a meaningful voice in our operations
and planning. He combines visionary thinking with passionate
Armato emphasized that he passionately believes in the strategic direction of the organization.
"Several years ago Novant Health adopted a new vision under Paul's
leadership, 'to deliver the most remarkable patient experience, in every
dimension, every time.' That's a lofty objective but it's also the
precise goal we should be aspiring to achieve. I want every patient who
has an encounter with our organization to experience that commitment."