HCA Healthcare
September 10, 2018

Milton Johnson, the CEO of HCA Healthcare, one of the largest and most important companies in Nashville, will retire at the end of the year.

HCA announced in a news release Monday morning that Johnson will be replaced by Sam Hazen, the company’s current president and chief operating officer. Hazen has also been appointed as a member of the company’s board of directors, the news release said.

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Johnson will remain chairman of the HCA board through a 2019 shareholders meeting on April 26, at which point he will resign from that position also. Thomas F. Frist III, the son and grandson of HCA’s founders, will be named the new board chairman at the meeting.

HCA, the largest hospital company in the United States, turned 50 years old last month. The company was founded in Nashville by respected doctor Thomas Frist Sr., his son, Dr. Thomas Frist Jr. and famous businessman Jack Massey. The company quickly attracted partners and competitors to Nashville, becoming the core of the city’s booming healthcare industry.

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Both Johnson and Hazen have worked for HCA for 36 years. In the news release, Johnson said it has been a “privilege” to lead the company and endorsed Hazen as “the right person to lead the company.”

“I don’t see anything slowing it down,” Johnson said about the company during an interview with The Tennessean earlier this year. “I think the future is as bright as ever as far as the growth of health care and Nashville’s outlook as well.”

In the release, Hazen thanked Johnson for his leadership and said he was “honored” to take the helm of the company.

“We are committed to providing our patients with the best possible care,” Hazen said in the release. “As head of the company’s operations for over seven years, I have worked with all our stakeholders – including patients, physicians, employees, shareholders and the board – to fulfill that commitment.  In this transition and beyond, I pledge to use my leadership role to continue our focus on providing the best possible care for patients, as well as building on our successes for all our stakeholders.”