NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — President and CEO of Sentara Healthcare Howard P. Kern has announced he will be retiring by the end of 2022.

“I am fortunate to have worked with many truly exceptional leaders, but what has really set Sentara apart from other excellent organizations has been the way these leaders have come together as a team, with a unified purpose, to accomplish extraordinary things. That said, Sentara is entering a new era in healthcare, and I believe the time for new leadership is now. I will forever remain personally devoted to Sentara Healthcare and the people who make it great,” Kern said. “I will support the Board and new CEO in whatever way I can to ensure a smooth transition that assures continued success for that individual, the system, and our communities.”

Kern began his career with Sentara when he join Sentara Norfolk General Hospital as an administrative fellow. During his time at Sentara, he took on many leadership roles including chief operating officer for the system. He was promoted to president and chief executive officer in February 2016.

“Howard’s contributions to Sentara Healthcare and our communities is immeasurable. His focus on affordable quality care, improved patient outcomes, and staff satisfaction has enhanced Sentara’s success. His growth-oriented vision for the system, his commitment to community engagement and impact and health equity, and his navigation through the COVID-19 pandemic and championing public health and medical education in Hampton Roads have cemented his legacy and ensured the long-term health and welfare of the communities Sentara serves. We will miss Howard, but appreciate his leadership over the years,” said Dian Calderone, chair of the Sentara Healthcare Board of Directors.

Kern has agreed to remain in his role until a candidate is selected.