Duke Regional to launch search for new president

Sep. 17, 2013 @ 06:08 PM

Duke Regional Hospital leaders are planning to launch a search for a replacement for hospital president Kerry Watson, who has accepted the top leadership role at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Massachusetts.

Watson is retiring from Duke Regional, and starts in his new job Oct. 1.

Newton-Wellesley is a hospital that’s part of Partners HealthCare System Inc., a nonprofit group that also includes Massachusetts General Hospital, the primary teaching hospital for Harvard Medical School.

It has a staff of about 1,000 physicians, according to a news release from July announcing Watsons’ selection, and is a teaching hospital for the Tufts University School of Medicine. It also has post-graduate training programs for Harvard Medical School residents, the release states.

Duke Regional, previously known as Durham Regional Hospital, is managed by the Duke University Health System.

It has about 1,740 employees and 780 physicians. Earlier this year, the hospital laid off 39 workers as part of a move to improve the hospital’s financial condition.

Before taking the role of president, Watson was associate chief operating officer and senior operating officer for 10 years at Duke University Hospital, according to the release from Newton-Wellesley.

The Durham County Hospital Corp. Board of Trustees held a special-called meeting last month to discuss a plan for filling the vacancy on an interim basis, according to an email from Mary Kate Llamas, a spokeswoman for Duke Regional.

According to a memo sent out hospital to employees earlier this month, Katie Galbraith, vice president at Duke Regional, is taking on the interim role as of Sept. 30.

She started working at the hospital in 2001, according to the memo, and will hold the president’s job until a permanent leader is named. Watson, who will continue in the role as president until Sept. 29, planned to help her transition.