West TN Healthcare board approves Arnold’s resignation

JACKSON, Tenn. — The West Tennessee Healthcare Board of Trustees held their first meeting Tuesday night since the abrupt resignation of longtime CEO Bobby Arnold.

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 8.56.55 PMWBBJ 7 Eyewitness News hoped during the meeting to get more information for about why Arnold left the system in such a secretive manner, but the board and new CEO seem set on keeping West Tennessee in the dark.

During the meeting, board members officially accepted Bobby Arnold’s resignation and appointed James Ross as his interim successor.

“As Bobby makes this transition in his life I want to respect his privacy,” Ross said. “But most of all I want to respect his legacy as CEO of this hospital and this system.”

Ross addressed the board for the first time as interim President and CEO.

“Bobby definitely left a true legacy for this community,” Ross said. “My goal is to carry this legacy on with great care and compassion.”

Since Arnold’s departure, WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News has been left with little information on why, only that he resigned over the phone. During Tuesday’s board meeting, Ross and members of the board would not go into any more detail citing Arnold’s privacy.

James Ross

James Ross

“Obviously anytime we have an employee transition from one position to another it’s a loss,” Ross said. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say that.”

But despite that loss, Ross said the employees are keeping their heads up.

“They’ve just kept this organization together and kept pushing forward to provide great care,” Ross said.

With an interim leader at the helm Ross said the area’s largest employer continues to stay strong.

“They recognize that we have a much greater calling,” Ross said. “That’s to continue to provide what we can for this community.”

According to West Tennessee Health Care, James Ross will remain interim President and CEO until a nationwide search can be performed to find a permanent successor.

Also discussed at the meeting was the appointment new board chairwoman Vicki Burch and the approval of selling some property the system owns across from the hospital in Milan.