Lutheran Health Network officials have launched a nationwide search to find St. Joseph Hospital's next CEO.
Eric Looper, the downtown hospital's current CEO, is headed back to his native Texas. He will be CEO of the Hill Country Region of Baylor Scott & White Health, which comprises two hospitals -- Llano Hospital in Llano, Texas, and Marble Falls Hospital in Marble Falls, Texas.
His last day at St. Joe will be July 3.
Lutheran spokesman Geoff Thomas confirmed Friday that the search process is ongoing. No interim CEO has been named.
Looper sent the hospital's 747 employees an email that explained his decision.
“Our time here has been wonderful and we cannot imagine a better community to live in besides Fort Wayne, but we simply could not pass up the opportunity to go home,” he said. “Since my son was born here, we will always have a little Hoosier in the Looper family.”
The married father of two came to St. Joe, a 191-bed hospital, in November 2010.
He was previously senior vice president of a 691-bed hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Looper, who is in his mid-30s, succeeded Dawn Rudolph as CEO.
In September, Lutheran officials announced plans for a $5.9 million renovation at St. Joe.
The three-phase project includes reducing the number of operating rooms to five from seven, creating larger areas capable of accommodating orthopedic surgeries, which sometimes require larger equipment.
Upgrades include new overhead surgical lighting, flooring, and heating and cooling systems throughout the surgical department. The hospital is also investing in new surgical equipment, officials said previously.
The project is projected to be completed by the end of the year.