Jack Bovender, who has helmed hospital giant HCA since 1997, announced today that he plans to retire at the end of this year.
Bovender came back to the company from retirement, helping founder and then-CEO Tommy Frist right the ship after its well-publicized troubles as Columbia/HCA during the 1990s under the dubious reign of then-CEO Rick Scott
That chapter in the company’s history saw HCA under federal investigation for Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The company eventually settled the claims, paying nearly $1.7 billion
After helping to see the company through that storm, in 2006, he helped lead the company through what was then the largest LBO in history.
In July of that year, the company announced its intention to go private in a transaction valued at approximately $32 billion.
After the typical raft of shareholder litigation and requisite votes, the deal closed in November of ’06.
The following summer he recounted the story of the deal during a meeting of the Nashville Health Care Council. At the time when asked what he found most shocking about the deal, he quipped, “honestly, the fact that you could borrow $28 billion.”
*As a side note: Man, those were the days.
At the close of this year, Bovender will hand over the reins to 27-year HCA vet Richard Bracken, who currently serves as the company’s president and chief operating officer. He will remain as executive chairman and a member of the board of directors until December of 2009.