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Northeast Georgia Health System Names New President and CEO

Published on June 16, 2011
Carol BurrellGAINESVILLE, GA -- Carol H. Burrell, Northeast Georgia Health System’s (NGHS) Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, has been named the new President and CEO of the Health System, according to an announcement released today by NGHS Board Chair Mary Lynn Coyle.  Burrell has served as the Health System’s interim CEO since last November, when former NGHS Chief Executive Officer Jim Gardner announced his departure. 

A native daughter of Northeast Georgia, Burrell grew up in Carl (near Winder) and completed her undergraduate degree at Georgia Southern College and Emory University Hospital.  She started her career as a medical technologist in the late 70s, before returning to school to complete her master’s degree in healthcare administration at Central Michigan University.  Burrell served as a vice president at St. Vincent’s Health System in Jacksonville, Fla., prior to being recruited to NGHS in 1999 to work with the Health System’s primary care network; she was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 2004.

“Professionally, Carol’s diverse career reflects her innate ability and business acumen in developing, restructuring and advancing a wide range of healthcare divisions.  On a personal level, her integrity, grace and empathy personify the values that are the cornerstone of our organization,” said Coyle.

Coyle said that Burrell has been at the forefront of many of the Health System’s key accomplishments over the past 10 years, some of which included planning and execution of a $550 million major capital expansion plan for facilities, operations, and information technology.  She shared major responsibilities for the development of the hospital’s new Women and Children’s Pavilion, Imaging Center and North Patient Tower and was administratively responsible for consolidation of acute care services of Lanier Park Hospital and Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

In February, the executive committee of the NGHS Board appointed a search committee to search for a new CEO.  Coyle, who chaired the committee, said it was “a very deliberate, rigorous process that was developed to be inclusive and transparent.”  During the course of two months, the committee conducted 11 focus groups with board members, physicians, employees, senior management and community leaders to obtain feedback on the qualities and characteristics they believed the CEO must possess.

With support from the Hay Group, a global management consulting firm with extensive experience in job evaluation methodology and a comprehensive database of organizational management information, the search committee used the feedback from focus group participants to develop a CEO role profile, based on expected job demands, accountabilities, and competencies necessary for success.  “After completing the focus groups and studying the role profile that was developed, it became apparent that Carol embodies the ‘must have’ personality characteristics and leadership skills that were identified,” said Coyle.  She added that while the NGHS board had total accountability for the selection process and decision, the Hay Group helped guide their search and validated the search committee’s decision to offer the CEO position to Burrell.

“I've had the opportunity to work with Carol for several years through her role as chief operating officer and, more recently, as interim CEO, and I appreciate how well she collaborates with physicians.  She is trustworthy, has a reputation for open, honest dialogue and has proven herself to be a very capable leader,” said Dr. Priscilla Strom, surgeon with the Longstreet Clinic and member of the search committee.

“Carol is not only a well-respected leader in the healthcare community, but has also earned the respect of civic leaders through her involvement in community life,” added Doug Carter, search committee member and chairman of the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Board, as well as current chairman of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.  “Carol has a servant’s heart and a contagious sense of humor that helps her engage and relate to others at all levels of the organization and in the community.”

Some of Burrell's community activities include:  member of Gainesville Rotary, past chair of the Northeast Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross and past chair of Hall County’s United Way.  She currently serves on the board of directors of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.  She and her husband, Steve, are members of Lakewood Baptist Church, where Carol has served on the Personnel Committee.  They have two adult children, Bradee and Lee.  Bradee is a graduate of North Hall High School and is a student at North Georgia College and State University School of Nursing; Lee is a graduate of North Georgia College and State University.

“I feel blessed to be able to follow those who have served and led this organization over the past six decades to become a recognized leader in the healthcare industry, both locally and nationally,” said Burrell.  “I’m excited about the opportunity to work with staff, physicians and board leadership to help continue that tradition and further advance the healthcare services that we provide to our region.”

“Rarely does a board get the opportunity to evaluate the performance of a CEO candidate prior to employment and our board is, indeed, fortunate to have had this opportunity,” said Coyle.   “We are thrilled that Carol has accepted the CEO position, and we are confident in her ability to lead our organization to new levels of achievement.”

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