, Gloucester, MA

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November 11, 2008

Laverty out at Northeast Health

Trustees 'accept resignation' of embattled CEO, name former chairman as interim leader

Stephen Laverty, the embattled, hard-driving president and CEO of Northeast Health System for the past eight years, has resigned, the Board of Trustees announced yesterday.

No reason was given for the resignation, which leaves Northeast with a leadership vacuum at a moment of intensifying competition.

In their lengthy written announcement, e-mailed to the Times, the trustees said, "There will be no further comment from the hospital on this matter at this time."

Henry J. Ramini, a physician and former chairman of the system's trustees, was named to replace Laverty, 56, on an interim basis. An executive search firm has been hired to find a successor.

"We accept Steve's resignation with a sense of loss but also with a deep appreciation for his accomplishments," said David St. Laurent, chairman of the Board of Trustees. "He leaves this hospital system stronger and more vibrant than when he started."

Laverty said through a Northeast Health System spokesman last night that he would not be commenting.

In their statement, Northeast's trustees made no mention of a settlement for Laverty, whose 2006 salary was nearly $700,000, including benefits, according to state tax records for the last year currently available.

Cape Ann political and medical figures associated with Addison Gilbert Hospital characterized the resignation yesterday as a chance to fix a dysfunctional and mutually mistrusting relationship that has been part of Laverty's legacy.

"Hopefully, an era of anxiety and concern is coming to an end," said state Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, who organized a multi-community, citizen and government task force in 2003 to monitor and challenge Laverty's expressed intention to downsize Addison Gilbert, shifting surgical and in patient services to Beverly Hospital.

"I feel the board is not being open and honest about why there is a change in leadership," said former Gloucester Mayor and task force member John Bell.

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