After leading Memorial Healthcare System’s growth over the past 25 years from a single hospital in Hollywood to one of the nation’s largest comprehensive healthcare networks, Frank Sacco, announced Monday in an email to employees that he will retire, effective Feb. 29.
Sacco, 68, has been president and chief executive officer of Memorial Healthcare since July 1987 — a position that he earned after starting his career in April 1974 as assistant director of housekeeping, and working his way through numerous departments and job titles.
“My particular personality is work to the end,’’ said Sacco. After four decades of dedicating himself to the success of Memorial Healthcare, he said, “It’s time that I just concentrate on myself and my family.’’
Though he will leave before his contract is due to expire in June 2017, Sacco said he has long stated his intention to retire in 2015. He said he agreed to an employment contract beyond that year in order to avoid disruptions.
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Laura Miller, a member of the South Broward Hospital District board of commissioners that governs Memorial Healthcare, said administrators had not given Sacco’s succession the attention it merited.
Sacco replied that he has addressed his succession with members of his executive team. “I’ve left this place in excellent shape with regard to succession planning.”
He showed up at Monday’s meeting of the hospital board with copies of a plan for hiring a recruiter to find Memorial Healthcare’s next CEO. The board has yet to announce a date when it will meet to begin the process of selecting Sacco’s successor.
Members of the hospital board were unanimous in their praise of Sacco, noting that he leaves Memorial Healthcare in “a great position,’’ with six hospitals, a network of urgent care centers, nursing homes, a physicians group and other resources necessary to adapt and thrive under the Affordable Care Act. The hospital system reported patient revenues of more than $1.4 billion and net assets of more than $1.6 billion for the year ending April 30, 2014, according to the most recent audited financial statements.
As CEO, Sacco was paid a base salary of $741,000 in 2014, and he earned a bonus of about $145,000.
Sacco has frequently noted that the hospital’s board, which is appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, has kept property taxes low during his tenure. This year, taxpayers in South Broward paid a collective $8 million in property taxes to support Memorial Healthcare — about half the amount of the prior year.
The system uses those taxes to help pay for medical care for the uninsured at its primary care clinics, nursing homes and hospitals, a cost Memorial Healthcare estimates at $1 billion a year.