LEWISTON — St. Mary’s Health System is getting a new leader.

Officials of Covenant Health Systems, St. Mary’s parent company, announced Tuesday that they hired Peter Holden as interim president for the Lewiston-based health system.

Holden replaces Chris A. Chekouras, who recently resigned to take a job out of state to be closer to family.

Chekouras was president and CEO, but Covenant said it is dropping CEO from the positition’s title because “president” better aligns with other positions within the Covenant system.

Holden was most recently president and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Plymouth Hospital in Massachusetts, the largest community hospital in the eight-hospital Beth Israel Deaconess Healthcare System, according to Covenant. He served there for nine years, leaving the job last November to “pursue new opportunities,” according to a Boston Globe story at the time.  

Holden has also served in leadership roles at Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Caritas Christi Health Care System in Boston, TriHealth Inc. and Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati and VitalNet Group of Buffalo, New York.

Holden is expected to lead St. Mary’s, including St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, for nine months or until a permanent leader is named. A Covenant spokeswoman said system leaders wanted strong leadership in place immediately while using this time to assess St. Mary’s long-term needs.

“We look forward to working with a president of Peter Holden’s caliber,” David Lincoln, president and CEO of Covenant Health, said in the statement. “He has a proven track record of achieving unprecedented improvements in quality, patient satisfaction, physician recruitment, growth and profitability.”

Although Chekouras’ resignation is not effective until Oct. 6, Holden is scheduled to start Sept. 11. A Covenant spokeswoman said she was not sure of Chekouras’ plans in light of Holden’s start date.

Chekouras has served as St. Mary’s president and CEO for two years.

Covenant Health Systems is based in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, and counts two Maine hospitals among its facilities.

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