TIMMINS -- After a 35-year career in health care and five years as the president of Timmins and District Hospital (TADH), Blaise MacNeil announced his retirement Wednesday.

Hospital officials expressed their gratitude for his leadership, especially through the pandemic, including helping acquire additional care beds and overflow beds.

“The strategic vision, leadership and advocacy Blaise MacNeil provided while at TADH over the last five years has had an immense impact on our hospital,” TADH board chair Gaetan Malette said in a release. “Through his tireless work, he has effectively dealt with many challenges and opportunities facing our hospital, health care system and community. We thank him greatly for his work and wish him the best in his retirement.”

 Kathleen Fyfe, the incumbent president and CEO, will take the reigns on July 27.

MacNeil said the hospital will be in capable hands.

“I know that TADH will continue to progress as a community, referral and teaching hospital in the north,” MacNeil said. “I am confident in the bright future of this hospital thanks to the strong board, leadership team and dedicated staff, physicians and volunteers. I am grateful for having been part of this great health care team.”

Fyfe was most recently a vice-president at Ontario Health’s North East Local Health Integration Network for seven years and served as interim CEO.

Prior to that, she held vice-president and chief financial officer roles at North Bay Regional Health Centre.

In a release announcing her new position, Fyfe said sharing northern Ontario values is key for a new president to continue the hospital’s forward momentum.

“As a Northerner, I understand first hand why it’s so important for us to continue to have strong local leadership actively involved in the design and implementation of our evolving and complex health system,” said Fyfe. “I am honoured and excited about the opportunity to lead TADH.”