Buy Photo

Photo courtesy of Dignity Health

Bakersfield Memorial Hospital executive Bruce Peters will take over as president and CEO of Mercy Hospitals on Jan. 20.

A longtime Bakersfield Memorial Hospital executive has been picked to lead Mercy Hospitals.

Bruce Peters will start work as president and CEO of Mercy Hospitals — meaning Mercy Hospital Downtown and Mercy Hospital Southwest — on Jan. 20, according to a news release. Mercy’s previous president, Russell Judd, resigned in December to lead local public hospital Kern Medical Center.

Peters has worked as Memorial’s vice president/chief operating officer for more than 12 years. He is also currently Dignity Health Central Valley’s chief strategy officer, a title he will also leave behind.

Peters, 57, came to Bakersfield to open the Bakersfield Heart Hospital in 1998 and said he’s enjoyed becoming a part of the community ever since.

“I have no intention of ever leaving Bakersfield. I want to retire here,” Peters said.

“Mercy has a great tradition here of working for the community and being part of the community and all I really hope to do is build on everything they’ve accomplished,” he added.

Peters’ community involvement includes board member service with the American Heart Association, the Kern Economic Development Corporation and other groups, a news release said. He is single and has one son, who lives in Bakersfield, and a stepdaughter, who lives in Georgia.

On top of his role at Memorial, Peters is in charge of “the strategic direction” for Dignity Health in the Central Valley, which includes implementing health reform initiatives and growing partnerships with other health care providers, such as the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center in Bakersfield, the news release said.

Jon Van Boening, senior vice president of Dignity Health Central Valley and Memorial Hospital president, praised Peters’ move.

“I am confident that he will do an excellent job moving Mercy forward in continuing the mission of providing the highest level of patient care in a safe and healing environment for years to come,” Van Boening said in the news release.

Peters said he feels excited and privileged to be chosen for this new endeavour.

“The goal is to keep Mercy as a pillar of our community and a place that the community wants to bring their family to for care,” he said.

Mercy Hospitals’ chief operating officer Mike Bowers will take over Peters’ positions locally at Memorial and regionally with Dignity Health.

Mercy Hospitals have 272 total beds and about 1,400 employees. The hospitals’ programs include 24-hour emergency rooms, a stroke center, orthopedic centers and a weight loss surgery program.

Peters declined to disclose his new salary but according to tax records, he earned more than $270,000 at Memorial in 2011, plus another $39,401 estimated compensation from Memorial and related organizations.