Bovender to assume chairman's post at HCA from Frist

Thirty-three years after co-founding Hospital Corporation of America, Dr. Thomas Frist Jr. is preparing to step aside from active day-to-day management. Jack Bovender, the Nashville-based hospital company

Thirty-three years after co-founding Hospital Corporation of America, Dr. Thomas Frist Jr. is preparing to step aside from active day-to-day management. Jack Bovender, the Nashville-based hospital company's president and chief executive, will succeed Dr. Frist, 62, as head of the board of directors starting January 1.

When Mr. Bovender assumes the chairman's post, he will relinquish his position as president to former Centennial Medical Center chief Richard Bracken. As an initial step in the leadership transition, Mr. Bracken on Monday began serving as HCA's chief operating officer. He had been leading the company's western unit and will retain the C.O.O. post when he becomes president.

"It is now time to begin an orderly transition of HCA's leadership team that will guide this company to even higher levels of achievement in the coming years," Dr. Frist said in a release. He will continue to serve on the HCA board.

Mr. Bracken, 48, joined HCA in 1981, and except for a three-year stint running HCA's local flagship hospital Centennial Medical Center in the early 1990s, he has worked in increasingly higher levels of management in the company's west-of-the-Mississippi operations, which currently includes 80 hospitals and represents annual revenues of more than $9 billion.

Replacing Mr. Bracken as head of the western group is Samuel Hazen, 41. Formerly chief financial officer of the western group, he was named president of that group on Monday.

HCA shares settled Friday at $44.95. Their 52-week range is $32.31-$47.