Lori Herndon, one of the top health care executives in the state, announced Wednesday that she intends to retire as CEO of AtlantiCare, effective June 30, ending a remarkable 40-year career in the industry.
A search for her successor will begin in earnest — and is expected to include internal and external candidates.
Herndon joined AtlantiCare as a critical care staff nurse in 1983 and served as a hospital administrator and chief operating officer before becoming CEO in 2016. She has been the face of AtlantiCare in the health system’s South Jersey service area and beyond and played an integral role in supporting staff through the pandemic.
She has been honored by numerous publications — she was ranked as one of the Top 40 women in the state by ROI-NJ this week — and recently was named as one of Modern Healthcare’s 100 most influential leaders in health care. She also recently completed a year’s tenure as president of the New Jersey Hospital Association.
She will transition her CEO responsibilities May 31 and work with the AtlantiCare board and leadership team as needed to support the transition until her retirement June 30.
Herndon announced her retirement in a note to the staff Wednesday morning.
“As many of you know, I began my career as a critical care nurse and enjoyed every opportunity to learn and grow over 40 years at AtlantiCare,” Herndon wrote.
“I care deeply about our AtlantiCare team, our patients and our community. Our impact on the community and our patients we serve has been immeasurable, and I will always be proud of working with our AtlantiCare team through some of health care’s most challenging times.”
Board Chair David Goddard said the board accepted Herndon’s decision with sadness and expressed gratitude for her consistent dedication to AtlantiCare and the people it serves.
“Lori’s impact on AtlantiCare and her leadership in the hospital has been far-reaching,” he said. “She has provided steady and solid leadership through the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic while expanding clinical services and programs in our region. While we will miss her deeply, we respect her decision to cap her career on this milestone anniversary.
“On behalf of AtlantiCare and our entire community, the board wants to sincerely thank Lori for dedicating her career to our organization and wish her all the best in her well-earned retirement. We will share plans for honoring her soon.”
Goddard said the board will seek a new CEO who can build upon AtlantiCare’s success as an independent health system and assure that it continues to thrive in an evolving and highly competitive market.
The board will consider any qualified candidates from both inside and outside AtlantiCare for the CEO position, Goddard said. Patients and AtlantiCare team members should not notice any change during the transition.
“AtlantiCare has a strong and seasoned executive leadership team, and dedicated team members across the organization, to ensure a smooth transition to a new CEO with the right vision for our health system and the communities we serve,” Goddard said.
“We will seek a new leader to define and execute our strategic priorities for the future, with the same commitment to personalized health, healing and wellness services that people expect from AtlantiCare.”