Nathan Howell is the new president and CEO of MaineGeneral Health. Photo courtesy of MaineGeneral Health

MaineGeneral Health, which runs a 198-bed landmark hospital in Augusta and other Kennebec County health care services, has named a new leader who is currently president of a medical center in Biddeford.

Nathan Howell, a graduate of Colby College in Waterville, will become MaineGeneral Health’s new president and CEO on July 1. He replaces Chuck Hays, who has been the hospital system’s president for the past 10 years.

Howell has served as president of MaineHealth’s Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford since 2018.

In a news release Tuesday, Howell said said he looks forward to joining MaineGeneral Health, which has about 4,600 employees across its facilities. Howell said he visited the health system, which includes the Alfond Center for Health in Augusta and Thayer Center for Health in Waterville.

“As impressive as the Alfond Center for Health is, I was most impressed by the people I met,” Howell said in a statement. “From the medical assistants in your orthopedics practice to the energetic and dedicated Emergency Department director, all were impressively on point when it came to reinforcing your values of teamwork and communication. Health care is only as good as the people who make it their mission to deliver it and MaineGeneral has an amazing base from which we can continue to grow.”

Hays announced last year he would be retiring and plans to remain at MaineGeneral during the transition as Howell assumes the leadership job.


WittKieffer, a national search firm, organized the candidate search process, which also included MaineGeneral board members, senior leadership, medical staff and other stakeholders.

MaineGeneral Health runs a flagship 198-bed hospital in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

James LaLiberty, chair of the MaineGeneral Health board of directors, said members of the search process were impressed by Howell’s “enthusiasm, track record of leadership and vision for the future of our regional health system.”

Hays has helped build a “culture of excellence” during in tenure that has included much change, LaLiberty said. Hays became president at a time when MaineGeneral was opening the $312 million Alfond Center for Health in Augusta. In 2014, MaineGeneral completed renovations to transform its Waterville Campus — the Thayer Center for Health — into the largest comprehensive outpatient center in the state.

“From the transformation of health care delivery in the Kennebec Valley through the COVID-19 pandemic, his inclusive style and encouragement of ground-up engagement and contributions has set MaineGeneral on a path to meet the health care needs of our community for generations to come,” LaLibery said in a statement. “We have every confidence that Nathan Howell will continue this legacy and, along with the exceptional staff and leadership at MaineGeneral, will keep us on the path of providing the best possible health care and services to the Kennebec Valley.

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