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RMC board picks new CEO; Southerland has S.C. roots, chairman says
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RMC board picks new CEO; Southerland has S.C. roots, chairman says

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A Clemson University graduate has been selected to serve as the Regional Medical Center's new chief executive officer and president.

Hospital trustees voted 10-4 on Wednesday to name David M. Southerland to the position. He is area vice president and chief operating officer of Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Petaluma Valley Hospital in California.

The Rev. Dr. Caesar Richburg, RMC board chairman, said two of the finalists for the job had similar skill sets. Trustees thought Southerland was a better fit for the community and the hospital’s goals.

“He has South Carolina roots, he has Southeastern roots,” Richburg said. “At the end of the day, the board felt that he was the individual.”

Southerland received 10 votes from the RMC board. David N. Keith, president and CEO of McAlester Regional Health Center in McAlester, Oklahoma, received 4 votes. The other finalist did not receive any votes.

Trustees voting for Southerland were Dr. Rocco Cassone, Sonya Ehrhardt, Betty Henderson, Dr. Gloria James, Dr. Mohammad Nassri, Melvin Seabrooks, John Shuler, Cynthia Keller, Dr. John Samies and Dr. Vann Beth Shuler.

Trustees voting for Keith were Dr. Frank Coulter, William Wilson, Boyd McLeod and Dawn Robinson.

Following the vote, Coulter made a motion that the board announce its unanimous support for Southerland as the new president and CEO in an effort to show that the entire board is supportive of the hospital's new leader. The motion was unanimously approved.

Trustees voted for Southerland after about an hour of discussion in executive session.

The salary, benefits, professional fees, start date and terms of Southerland’s contract are still under negotiation and will be publicly announced at a later date, Richburg said.

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“There are just a number of particulars that need to be dealt with,” he said. “We want to bring all that back to this board.”

Trustee Betty Henderson noted that in the past the board generally knew what the terms of the contract were upon selecting a president.

“I do know there are some additional items as related to negotiations that the search group will be attending to on our behalf and will get back to us,” Richburg said in answer.

The Coker Group helped the hospital in the CEO search process.

Southerland is a Clemson University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in zoology and biology. He received a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and a master’s degree in management from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

Southerland's previous health care administration experience includes serving as area vice president and chief operating officer of St. Joseph Health Humboldt/St. Joseph Hospital and Redwood Memorial Hospital from 2012 to 2019.

He has also worked at Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill, S.C., as chief operating officer and senior vice president.

His affiliations include being a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a member of the California, Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee hospital associations.

RMC is also searching for a new chief financial officer and chief nursing officer with the help of the Coker Group.

“It is a work in progress,” Richburg said. The group has provided RMC with the names of some candidates.

Interim CEO Kirk Wilson said candidates for the positions have expressed a desire to know who the new CEO will be before committing to the hospital.

“They would like to have an opportunity to interact with that individual at least by phone to make sure there is a philosophical fit,” Wilson said, noting the positions are typically selected by the hospital president and CEO.

Wilson says he will speak with Southerland about the two positions. When the two might be named is uncertain.

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