Next CEO at Sarasota Memorial Hospital may already be on the job

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- The search is on, but Sarasota Memorial Hospital may need to look no further than their own back yard for a new CEO.

Finding someone responsible to oversee SMH, a hospital of more than 4,000 employees and many patients, is not an easy task. There are many considerations, and the interview process takes time.

Interim CEO David Verinder has been Chief Financial Officer of SMH, then a COO. Now, third time could be a charm for Verinder as he is considered for the permanent position.

“The way it works is that we are affording the first opportunity to our interim CEO, because he is an extremely viable candidate,” says Marguerite G. Malone, chair of the Sarasota County Public Hospital Board.

Verinder was involved in many successful projects, says Malone. “Well, one of course is the tower, which was our biggest project.”

Verinder's enthusiasm was apparent. “We'll have the latest technology, the best comfort areas in the organization…we're just looking forward to it.”

Then another first for Verinder. “He's been the one in charge of the urgent care centers that we've moved out into the community, the latest of which is on Bee Ridge.”

Verinder was the lead in several projects. “The clinics, all the outpatient facilities and things that we do, as the COO he had all that responsibility. And as the CFO, when he first came, his major task was to really, really handle our finances,” says Malone.

That task and others were a success. But perhaps the most challenging of tasks is to fill the big shoes of former CEO, Gwen McKenzie, a former nurse who identified well with staff. “David has come up a different route, but he has worked for a long time with clinical staff and nursing staff and all the employees in the hospital. So I think that he gets along with them, he understands, he knows the importance of all the clinical areas. But he sometimes laughingly says now, ‘I'm not a nurse, but I do think maybe we should do it this way’.”

Dr. Malone says they hope to complete the process that involves David Verinder by early August. If there is a need to go on, then it probably will add another three or four months.

David Verinder