By Carra Higgins
After leaving Raleigh General Hospital 12 years ago, David Darden will return May 1 to once again serve as its chief executive officer, RGH announced Thursday. Darden, who served at RGH as its COO and then CEO from 1994 to 2001, replaces Allen Peters, who left the CEO position in January for health-related reasons.
Robert Klein, chief operating officer of the central group of LifePoint Hospitals said the company is “fortunate” to have someone of Darden’s “caliber” to lead RGH.
“David is the right person to fill this important position,” Klein commented. “He is an experienced and accomplished hospital executive and knows Raleigh General and the Beckley community very well, having served as COO and then CEO for this hospital more than 12 years ago.”
Since 2006, Darden has served as the CEO of another LifePoint owned hospital, Clinch Valley Medical Center at Richlands, Virginia. While at CVMC, Darden led the organization in “significantly improving” patient, physician and employee satisfaction, a news release from RGH stated. Among his accomplishments at CVMC are the hospitalist program and expanded clinical services by recruiting medical specialists, such as orthopedic, thoracic, general and vascular surgeons. Also under Darden’s leadership at CVMC, the hospital was one of five to receive LifePoint Hospital’s High Five Award for operational excellence in 2008 and one of four hospitals to receive the award in 2011.
“While it was a difficult decision for me to leave Clinch Valley Medical Center and the Richlands area, I am excited to return to Beckley and Raleigh General Hospital,” Darden said. “I have held very fond memories of the experiences and the relationships I established in the Beckley area and at Raleigh General Hospital for many years. I look forward to renewing these relationships and establishing new ones as I rejoin the outstanding team at Raleigh General and I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for our hospital and our community.”
Darden previously served as COO at Memorial Medical Center at Las Cruces, New Mexico, also part of LifePoint Hospitals, and as CEO of Bartow Memorial Hospital in Bartow, Florida.
“We are pleased that David has accepted this important leadership position and is returning to Raleigh General and the Beckley community,” said RGH Board of Trustees Chairman Mike Darby. “With his leadership experience and his knowledge of our community, David is in a uniquely qualified position to lead our hospital to growth and success in the future. I look forward to working with David and welcoming him back to Beckley.”
Darden has received local and national awards for outstanding leadership. In 2012, he was recognized by the American Hospital Association (AHA) with its Grassroots Champion Award for his exceptional leadership in generating grassroots and community activity in support of community hospitals. He also was named the 2012 Distinguished Citizen of the Year by Richlands Area Chamber of Commerce.
Darden holds a master of science degree in healthcare administration from Trinity University at San Antonio, Texas, and a bachelor of science degree from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and has served as ACHE Regent for the state of Virginia.