Willis-Knighton COO resigns; hospital begins search for new CEO

Updated: Oct. 12, 2017 at 11:56 AM CDT
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Charles D. "Chuck" Daigle resigns as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Office of...
Charles D. "Chuck" Daigle resigns as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Office of the Willis-Knighton Health System. (Source: WKHS)

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - Charles D. "Chuck" Daigle, the Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of the Willis-Knighton Health System, has announced his resignation.

He did so in a letter from attorneys Thursday.

It said in part, "the environment of medicine and health care is presently in great flux. I sought to meet these demands of change. Unfortunately, change is always difficult to achieve within a large institution. Change, however, was and remains necessary."

This comes as longtime CEO James Elrod announced the hospital would begin seeking his replacement.

Elrod confirmed the news in a letter addressed to Willis-Knighton Medical Staff Thursday.

"Because of the leadership role Willis-Knighton plays in our community, and our steadfast commitment to safeguarding the welfare of our patients, finding the right CEO candidate... is a responsibility of the utmost importance," Elrod wrote.

In it, he addressed growing debate and disagreement that happened within the health system following a rocky week.

Just last week, Willis Knighton Chief Cardiologist Dr. Michael G. Futrell offered his resignation.

During that time, the hospital also announced it would be supporting Elrod in his position. In a letter of support from the Board of Trustees, they wrote in part, "first, the Board voted to continue operating Willis-Knighton under the leadership of James Elrod, our current president, and chief executive officer. Second, the Board decided to delegate to Mr. Elrod any decision regarding WKHS's relationship with Chuck Daigle, WKHS's chief operating officer."

However, several doctors called for Elrod's removal and the promotion of Daigle to CEO.

Elrod says the move comes as they execute an ongoing goal to collectively do what is best for their doctors, staff, and patients.

"This succession plan will involve a nationwide search for a senior executive who will join our team, learn our systems, our values, and our community, and become the lead candidate for chief executive officer upon my retirement," Elrod wrote. "As we embark on that process, I am counting on your valuable input and will be soliciting your views."

The letter did not mention a timeline for finding his replacement or when Elrod will step down as CEO.

To read the full letter, scroll below.

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