- Associated Press - Thursday, September 3, 2015

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Longtime Sentara Healthcare chief executive officer David L. Bernd plans to retire next year.

Sentara said Thursday in a news release that Bernd’s retirement will be effective March 3, 2016. He will be succeeded by Howard P. Kern, the Norfolk-based health system’s current president and chief operating officer.

Bernd has served as Sentara’s CEO since 1995 and has been with the health system for 43 years.

Bernd says in the release that saying goodbye will be bittersweet. But he says he has confidence in Sentara’s future.

During Bernd’s tenure as CEO, Sentara has grown from a $600 million company with four hospitals serving Hampton Roads to a $4.7 billion multi-state system with 12 hospitals.

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