Alan Larson, CEO of Sovah Health-Danville, announced Tuesday he will retire at the end of this year.
Larson, who has served in that role since 2015, will continue on the job while Sovah officials search for a new leader, according to a news release.
“It’s been a true honor and privilege to have served alongside an incredible group of employees, physicians, board members and volunteers to improve the health of our southern Virginia communities,” Larson said in a prepared statement.
He and his wife, Kami, plan to spend more time with their family in his retirement.
Sovah Health is a regional health care provider with two hospital campuses, one in Danville and the other in Martinsville. The Danville facility has about 1,300 employees, with 175 physicians on staff. Martinsville’s location has more than 850 employees and more than 120 physicians.
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Larson is CEO of the Danville hospital and market president of the umbrella organization known as Sovah Health.
Sovah and Danville officials praised Larson’s performance and commitment to the company and the community.
“Alan is a compassionate, service-minded leader who has instilled in all of us an unwavering commitment to making our community healthier,” Julie Brown, chair of Sovah’s governing board, said in a prepared statement. “Sovah Health has been fortunate to have him at the helm, and we are grateful for his efforts and accomplishments on behalf of our patients, employees, physicians and volunteers. We wish him the best in his retirement.”
Danville Vice Mayor Gary Miller, a cardiologist on staff at Sovah Health-Danville, said Larson served as CEO longer than others he can recall.
“He’s been here seven years, longer than any other CEO — at least in my memory,” Miller said. “That’s a pretty good lifespan for a CEO. That is a tough job.”
The average tenure for a CEO is about three to four years, Miller said.
Larson has kept Sovah operating amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a nursing shortage, Miller pointed out. The hospital system has also extended outpatient care under Larson’s watch, he added.
“He’s done a very job for the hospital system,” Miller said.
In 2017, Larson led the merging of the two hospitals to form what is now Sovah Health, hospital spokesperson Corey Santoriello wrote in the news release.
His tenure at Sovah also resulted in accreditation for the Sovah Health-Danville residency program, recruitment of providers to Southern Virginia, the initiation and groundbreaking of the planned emergency department renovation in Danville and other facility and equipment upgrades, according to the news release.
“Alan has provided exemplary leadership to Sovah Health and demonstrated a strong commitment to serving the healthcare needs of the Danville and Martinsville communities,” said Cherie Sibley, president of LifePoint Health’s Central Division of hospitals, of which Sovah Health is a part. “He has helped enhance the level of quality and patient safety and worked hard to ensure that the hospital is well-positioned to continue serving the community long into the future.”
Danville Mayor Alonzo Jones agreed.
“I’m thankful for all he’s done for the community,” Jones said. “I pray they [the Larsons] have much relaxation.”
Larson provided periodic reports and updates on Sovah while CEO and market president, Jones pointed out.
“That meant a lot to me, it meant a lot to the hospital and the community,” Jones said.