Will Wagnon, the relatively new CEO of St. John’s Health, has resigned, effective immediately.

The St. John’s Health Board of Trustees approved his resignation following an executive session Monday.

In announcing Wagnon’s departure, Board Chair Sue Critzer provided no reason for his resignation.

Board advisor David Robertson, who has three decades at the helm of other hospitals, will take over as interim CEO.

“This is obviously not an ideal development coming at a time when the delta variant of COVID is rising in Teton County and cases are on the increase,” Trustee Joe Albright said. “But the community is extremely fortunate in having a uniquely qualified new interim CEO.”

Wagnon took over for outgoing CEO Paul Beaupre in February, after being named his successor in December. He has served in the position for about six months.

Calls made last week to multiple members of the hospital board about Wagnon’s departure, which at the time was not confirmed, were not returned.

Karen Connelly, St. John’s chief communications officer, provided Wagnon’s employment contract, a public record.

Joe Albright, the sole board member to talk with the Jackson Hole Daily, said, “I have no comment.”

The St. John’s Health Board of Trustees met July 19 in a special meeting that included an executive session, which Critzer said was held to “finish considering personnel matters it did not have time to complete in last Thursday’s meeting.”

Public boards like the hospital board can call executive sessions to discuss a range of issues in private, rather than in public as is usually required. They are required, however, to take action that results from the sessions in public.

After the July 19 meeting, Tom Lubnau, an attorney working with St. John’s Health, told the Jackson Hole News&Guide in an email that the earlier “executive session ended without the Board taking any action.” The board did not say what personnel issue it was discussing.

Beaupre, Wagnon’s predecessor, served as CEO from 2016 to January 2021, about four years. He was offered a base salary of $452,000 annually with an incentive potential of 40% and initially signed a three-year contract with possible one-year renewals.

Wagnon signed a contract for a base salary of $540,000, with a “potential awardable bonus” of $216,000, 40% of his base salary, and a 401(k) retirement contribution of $49,140, bringing his initial compensation package to $805,140. The contract ran from Feb. 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, after which it would automatically renew in one-year increments if it was not terminated before renewal.

Wagnon has two decades of experience leading hospitals around the country, including his most recent position before arriving in Jackson Hole at Henrico, Parham and Retreat Doctors’ Hospitals, in Richmond, Virginia. He also led hospitals in Nevada, Colorado and Florida.

Wagnon stepped down from his position at the Richmond hospitals, operated by HCA Healthcare, in Aug. 2019.

A spokesman for HCA Virginia told the Richmond Times-Dispatch at the time that he had left to “spend more time with family.”

The longtime hospital executive had served in that role for just over six years, and worked for HCA for over 22 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Wagnon left the HCA hospital chain after its earnings underperformed expectations for the second quarter of 2019, the Times-Dispatch reported. Spokespeople for the HCA hospital chain did not provide comment to the Times-Dispatch on Wagnon’s departure or whether financials influenced it.

Contact Billy Arnold at 732-7063 or barnold@jhnewsandguide.com.

Teton County Reporter

Billy Arnold has covered government and policy since January 2020, sitting through hours of Teton County meetings so readers don't have to. He moonlights as a ski reporter, helps with pandemic coverage and sneaks away to climb when he can.

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(1) comment

Roger Hayden

$1 million? You gotta be kidding. Now, I'm definitely not paying my bill since St. Johns doesn't need the money.

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