New leadership required, hospital board says
By Angelica Ingram
The Haliburton Highlands Health Services board of directors has ended its relationship with the organization’s CEO and president Varouj Eskedjian.
The decision was announced last week in an official press release issued on Dec. 10, but media had been given confirmation of the change two days earlier.
Acting chairman of the board Dave Bonham said the decision was made by the board in a duly convened board meeting.
“Because the process is not yet complete I can confirm that Varouj is no longer with HHHS,” said Bonham, when asked if the CEO was terminated.
In the release it states that with many important changes now falling into place, the HHHS board will need to look for the next generation of leadership to advance the organization.
“The board deeply appreciates the challenges that are involved in managing in this complex arena and bringing multiple service providers and cultures together into one new and aligned organization. This is why it has concluded that new leadership skill sets are required to inspire our people to bring the organization to the next level and to lead the important process of building one team and shaping a shared culture at HHHS,” it says.
Bonham said the organization was looking for somebody that could build a team of people across the spectrum of the corporation.
He also pointed to “gender sensitive engagement” as a direction that HHHS needed to go.
Bonham said he was part of the board when the decision was made and agrees with the board’s decision.
When contacted, Eskedjian would not provide a comment on the board’s decision.
During his time at the helm of the corporation, Eskedjian oversaw an integration mandated by the Central East Local Health Integration Network that brought organizations such as Community Care Haliburton County and the VON under the umbrella of HHHS services.
In the release the board acknowledges Eskedjian’s accomplishments over the past three years and credits the CEO as being instrumental in developing a vision for the future.
“Mr. Eskedjian has also championed the recent integration with our community care partners and service providers,” it says. “As Mr. Eskedjian moves on from HHHS, the board acknowledges his significant accomplishments and thanks him for his contributions.”
Chief nursing officer and director of hospital services for HHHS Carolyn Plummer was appointed to the position of interim CEO and president on Dec. 8. She has been with the corporation since the end of September.
A member of the HHHS board from 2008 to 2010, Plummer brings a wide range of experience to the table, including a nursing background, working with health consulting firm Deloitte and most recently with the University Health Network.
The corporation has hired temporary coverage to assist Plummer during the next while, but will be posting for an interim replacement for her position, she said.
While in the role as interim CEO, Plummer is focused on ensuring clients continue to get the best health care possible.
“Our community needs to be able to count on us to continue to meet their health care needs, regardless of the changes that happen here,” she said.
“I’m committed to continuing to build on the foundation that’s been built here and to bringing the staff together to continue to move forward as a team.”
A long-time cottager and recent permanent resident, Plummer said it’s too early for her to comment on whether she is considering stepping into the CEO role full time.
The board will form a search committee to find a new CEO, said Bonham.
“The process will be as open and transparent as we possibly can make it,” he said.
Eskedjian was hired by HHHS in November 2012, replacing former CEO Paul Rosebush, who left to take a position in southwestern Ontario.
Prior to working in Haliburton County, Eskedjian held positions at Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay, and the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care.