Longtime BGH CEO Sheryl Rickard will retire at end of the year

By Reader Staff

After 36 years with Bonner General Health, CEO Sheryl Rickard will be retiring at the end of 2023, capping a career that began in 1986 as accounting supervisor for the hospital. Rickard was promoted to chief financial officer two years later and continued in that role until she assumed the CEO position in 2004.

“I share this news with mixed emotions,” Rickard stated in the Aug. 15 announcement of her retirement. “I truly love and cherish BGH, the people I work with, the boards I have served on and my peers across the state. I really can’t think of a more rewarding and meaningful career. However, it’s now time for me to spend more time with my family, travel and enjoy the next chapter of my life.”

BGH Board of Directors Chair Ford Elsaesser noted Rickard’s many accomplishments during her time with the hospital — made “particularly impressive in light of the extremely challenging environments of all rural hospitals,” he stated. 

Sheryl Rickard. Courtesy photo.

“While many similar health care systems have had to shrink their capacity, during Sheryl’s tenure, BGH has expanded health care offerings in Bonner County,” Elsaesser added, going on to highlight, “the construction of the Health Services Building, connected to the hospital by the Jack Parker Sky Bridge, and the remodel of the Emergency Department, to note just a few accomplishments.”

Also under Rickard’s leadership as CEO, the hospital became a Critical Access Hospital; expanded its space and services, including the Pinegrove Medical Office Building and the Health Services Building, Bonner General Immediate Care, Behavioral Health, Ophthalmology, and Women’s Health clinics; revived the BGH Foundation; collaborated with Kootenai Medical Center to bring a cancer center to Sandpoint; with the help of the BGH Foundation and grant funds remodeled the Emergency Department, Ultrasound, Mammography and CT suites, and Trauma Radiology; and doubled employee numbers with growth and added services, with a current workforce of 430 employees.

Rickard has been recognized as BGH Employee of the Year (1998), Idaho Hospital Association Board Chair (2016) and received the Idaho Hospital Association Star Garnet Award (2022). 

She currently serves on the boards and committees of the Yellowstone Insurance Exchange, Bonner Partners in Care and Blue Cross of Idaho.

Meanwhile, the BGH Board of Directors has chosen current CFO John Hennessy to serve as CEO after Rickard’s retirement.

“I have every confidence that our fantastic team, under the leadership of John Hennessy, will continue to grow our services and positively impact the health of our community,” Rickard stated.

“Sheryl will be sorely missed, and her teamwork style of management is truly the main reason for BGH’s growth,” Elsaesser added. “The board is confident that John Hennessy will carry on Sheryl’s work and continue to help the entire team to provide superb health care.” 

Rickard stated that it had “truly been an honor and privilege to work with such an exceptional team of talented and devoted people.” 

“I am filled with gratitude and pride for all that we have accomplished together to enhance and improve the health and well-being of the community,” she added. “None of our success could have been possible without the dedication and commitment of our board of directors, senior leadership team, managers, physicians, staff and volunteers. I want to thank every member of the BGH health care team for their contributions and enduring commitment to our patients and their families.”

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