Lori Herndon, president and CEO of AtlantiCare since 2016, is retiring after four decades with the South Jersey health care system.
According to a March 7 announcement from AtlantiCare, Herndon informed the board of trustees of her decision, which the body accepted while expressing gratitude for her dedication. A successor was not named and the system said it will conduct a search for a new CEO.
During that time, board Chair David Goddard will work closely with the executive leadership team to assist the transition, AtlantiCare said.
“As many of you know, I began my career as a critical care nurse and enjoyed every opportunity to learn and grow over 40 years at AtlantiCare,” Herndon said in a note to team members. “I care deeply about our AtlantiCare team, our patients and our community. Our impact on the community and our patients we serve has been immeasurable and I will always be proud of working with our AtlantiCare team through some of health care’s most challenging times.”
Herndon will transition her CEO responsibilities May 31, working with the board and leadership team as needed to support the changeover until she retires June 30. AtlantiCare did not immediately return a request for comment regarding who will assume the responsibilities in the interim.
“Lori’s impact on AtlantiCare and her leadership in the hospital has been far-reaching,” Goddard said in a statement. “She has provided steady and solid leadership through the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic while expanding clinical services and programs in our region.”
Herndon joined the system in 1983. Before becoming president and CEO, she also served as a hospital administrator and chief operating officer.
Under her watch, the Egg Harbor Township-based system said it became the largest provider of mental health, substance use/addiction recovery services and family care social services in southeastern New Jersey last fall when it completed its acquisition of the John Brooks Recovery Center. The system also celebrated the debut of its $38 million, 69,700-square-foot Medical Arts Pavilion in Atlantic City at the end of 2022.
“This is a long time coming because we really knew that we needed to make a deeper investment in Atlantic City, and here it is,” Herndon said during an event marking a construction milestone for the effort in 2021. “I look at this as the next great chapter of AtlantiCare in Atlantic City.”
Her work at AtlantiCare has garnered her recognition, as well, with Herndon recently named one of Modern Healthcare’s 100 most influential leaders. In 2022, she served as chair of the New Jersey Hospital Association. The year prior, Herndon was named one of NJBIZ’s Best 50 Women in Business.
Goddard said the board is looking for a new chief executive that will build upon the independent health system’s success and “assure that it continues to thrive in an evolving and highlight competitive market.” Qualified candidates from within or outside of the organization will be considered.
“While we will miss her deeply, we respect her decision to cap her career on this milestone anniversary,” Goddard added. “On behalf of AtlantiCare and our entire community, the board wants to sincerely thank Lori for dedicating her career to our organization and wish her all the best in her well-earned retirement. We will share plans for honoring her soon.”l