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Central Maine Healthcare CEO to retire

The Central Maine Healthcare governing board has announced that the organization’s chief executive officer will retire during the summer of 2016. Central Maine Healthcare President and CEO Peter E. Chalke has notified the CMH Board of Directors that he will retire from the organization he has led for more than a decade, according to CMH Board of Directors Chair Deborah Dunlap Avasthi.

CMH is the parent organization to 17 companies that serve the healthcare needs of the central Maine region. CMH’s subsidiaries include Central Maine Medical Center, Bridgton Hospital, Rumford Hospital, and the Central Maine Medical Group. With over 3,700 employees, CMH is the largest healthcare employer in central Maine.

“On behalf of the Board, I can say we will sincerely miss Peter’s vision, energy and thoughtful leadership,” said Avasthi. “His work at Central Maine Healthcare has been essential to the organization’s success. His warm, caring management style, and the guidance and support he has offered countless people over the years, has shaped the culture at Central Maine Healthcare.”

Avasthi said that in order to assure continuity, Chalke will support the incoming President and CEO as well as continue to oversee a number of strategic initiatives in a consultative role to the new CEO during the transition. He will assist with key community initiatives launched during his tenure, including the Dempsey Challenge, the development of an integrated fitness center at Bates Mill #5 in conjunction with the Auburn-Lewiston YMCA, and the coordination of healthcare services for guests of the medical tourism center being developed in Auburn.

“I cannot adequately express the depth of respect I hold for the people who make Central Maine Healthcare such a great organization,” Chalke said. “It has been a privilege to work with everyone. I look forward to watching Central Maine Healthcare continue to prosper under a new president and CEO. I am honored that the Board has asked me to continue in a consultative role.”

When Chalke was elevated to CMH president and CEO in 2001, he was just the third chief executive to serve Central Maine Medical Center in over six decades. From 1951 to 1975, the hospital, then called Central Maine General Hospital, was run by Dana S. Thompson. After Thompson’s retirement, William W. Young, Jr., was appointed chief executive officer. Chalke succeeded Young in CMH’s senior leadership role.

Chalke joined the CMMC administrative staff in 1983 as vice president for ancillary services, responsible for the operation of various clinical departments. In 1986, he was promoted to senior vice president, and two years later he was named CMMC’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, responsible for the hospital’s operations. He assumed the equivalent leadership position at Central Maine Healthcare in 1995.

During his years at CMMC and CMH, Chalke played a key role in the development of the Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute and the expansion of the Central Maine Medical Group, a healthcare provider organization that now includes more than 400 providers in 17 communities throughout western, central and coastal Maine. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing, the annual Dempsey Challenge and was a major contributor to the success of LifeFlight of Maine. During his tenure, a new hospital was built in Bridgton, the Rumford Hospital was significantly renovated, and multiple medical offices were established throughout central Maine. He has played a principal role in the organization’s relationship with Massachusetts General Hospital.

His community activities include serving as chairman of the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council, as a director and president of the Maine Hospital Association, as director of Auburn Savings Bank, and as chair of the American Heart Association’s Lewiston-Auburn Heart Walk. He was also a member of the Auburn Public Library Capital Campaign Advisory Board and is a former board chair of the United Way of Androscoggin County.

Chalke has two sons, Christopher, 31, and Brett, 29, and lives with his wife, Sharron, in Auburn.

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