The chief executive officer of Neshoba County General Hospital and Nursing Home has announced his retirement, effective April 4.

CEO Lonnie Graeber, 66, submitted his retirement plans to the hospital's Board of Directors in September.

Graeber has served two terms as CEO, the first from 1993 until 2007, and the second from 2010 to the present for a total of 17 years.

"We celebrate Lonnie's desire to begin a new chapter of his life," Oliver Jolly, Board president, said. "There is no doubt Lonnie will remain a valued resource even after he retires. His timing has been well thought out; as he has planned to have some 'overlap' time so that he can make the change easier for the new CEO, the staff, and our patients at Neshoba General."

Graeber said it has been a privilege to head Neshoba General.

"I've been fortunate to have a dedicated and supportive Board, Medical Staff, and group of employees," he said. "Our leadership team is absolutely the best! They've made me look good. The community should be very proud of the new hospital and the quality care available here. Unlike many rural facilities, we are in a growth mode.

"Neshoba General is well positioned for the future and is on very sound financial footing. I want to thank the Board of Trustees for giving me this opportunity. I also want to thank Benjie Coats, County Administrator, and the Board of Supervisors for their unwavering support," Graeber said.

After Graeber submitted his retirement plans, a Search Committee was immediately formed.

Jolly and board member Kenneth Posey, also administrator of Jasper General Hospital, will head the committee.

"Our strategy includes having a new CEO in place 60-days before Lonnie retires so that he can provide assistance during the transition," Jolly said. "Plus, Lonnie has offered to be available should the search run longer than anticipated."