Confluence Health’s designated new CEO steps aside

Dr. Doug Wilson, Confluence Health CEO-elect, in a May 2020 Zoom presentation on COVID-19.

WENATCHEE — Dr. Douglas Wilson, the physician-executive who was to become Confluence Health’s CEO with the retirement of Dr. Peter Rutherford, is departing the organization instead.

Wilson, 53, was named chief executive officer-elect last year as Rutherford announced plans to retire in fall 2021. Both men have remained in leadership while Confluence weathered the COVID-19 crisis, which has intermittently flooded its intensive care ward and forced halts to medical procedures that traditionally net the biggest revenues for the nonprofit hospital and clinic system.

Dr. Douglas Wilson

Rutherford will remain as CEO while Confluence seeks a new successor.

Wilson’s departure was announced Wednesday afternoon in a memo circulated by Confluence board chair Patricia Ortiz Wachtel. It did not state a reason for the resignation, nor a date when it would become effective. Public information officer Andrew Canning confirmed the memo’s contents.

“I can also confirm that Dr. Wilson’s departure is not linked to or associated with any specific event or incident,” Canning said in an email.

Wilson is a board-certified family medicine physician who practiced for 15 years in Tonasket before relocating to Wenatchee in 2019. He received his medical degree from the University of Washington and did residency at Ventura County Medical Center in California. He previously volunteered to provide medical services in Honduras and Guatemala.

“During his time as CEO-Elect, Dr. Wilson has been a valued member of the Confluence Health Executive Leadership Team and his contributions to the system as we maneuvered through the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 18 months have been invaluable,” Ortiz Wachtel’s memo reads.

“… The Board will begin an immediate search for a CEO replacement. Until that time, Dr. Rutherford has agreed to delay his retirement and will remain the CEO of Confluence Health.”