For Immediate Release:
January 14, 2021
Effective immediately, Ms. Amy Walby has resigned from her volunteer position as Chair of LHSC’s Board of Directors. Ms. Walby tendered her resignation in recognition of the ongoing public and internal attention that is distracting from LHSC’s singular mission of meeting the health-care needs of our community in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.
Ms. Walby’s departure from this volunteer role is not an admission of wrongdoing. With her departure from the Board, Ms. Phyllis Retty becomes Acting Board Chair, effective immediately.
In addition, the Board would like to share that LHSC Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Jackie Schleifer Taylor (PT, PhD) has been appointed as LHSC’s Interim President and CEO effective immediately. Dr. Schleifer Taylor’s many years of executive leadership, including the five years she has spent as a senior executive at LHSC will ensure that LHSC can continue to focus on its immediate priorities.
The Board recognizes that there remain a number of outstanding questions regarding the termination of Dr. Paul Woods as President and CEO.
The details of his exit package are not available as they are now part of a lawsuit, however in the interest of transparency the Board can share the following details:
- Dr. Paul Woods was terminated without cause.
- Dr. Woods has commenced a lawsuit against LHSC by issuing a Statement of Claim.
- LHSC denies the allegations made by Dr. Woods in his Statement of Claim and will respond to the details of those allegations in due course when the Statement of Defense is made a matter of public record.
- Dr. Woods’ travels to the U.S. were known by many people at the hospital and in the community, as Dr. Woods did not attempt to hide his whereabouts.
- When objections to Dr. Woods’ travel were raised by those at LHSC, he advised that he had the support of the Board Chair and as such there was no room for further discussion or action.
- As noted in our Jan. 11 message, the Board has never formally approved any travel by Dr. Woods as there is no process for the Board of a public hospital, including LHSC, to approve a chief executive officer’s personal travel.
- The Board would like to clarify that Dr. Woods did disclose aspects of his travel to the Board and the Board Chair. Dr. Woods travelled to the U.S. to visit his immediate family in March 2020. He informed the Board of the border crossing due to urgent family business and would need to quarantine.
- It was not until the Jan 8, 2021 meeting of the elected Board Directors, that they were apprised of the full extent of the CEO’s travel over the course of the pandemic.
- Prior to travelling to the United States in August 2020, Dr. Woods raised the matter of his need to periodically travel (and subsequently work from home during a quarantine period) with the Chair of the Board. He asked her for guidance including whether he should bring the matter to the Board. The Chair indicated to Dr. Woods that he had her support and said that it was a personal matter that did not require Board approval.
This has been an incredibly difficult time for the hospital and community and the Board recognizes and thanks LHSC’s staff and physicians for their ongoing commitment to meeting the needs of the community during this challenging time.
Below is a statement from Amy Walby.
Statement from Amy Walby
“Over the past week, the Board has been engaged in difficult discussions on a daily basis. Unfortunately, there are legal implications associated with these conversations making complete transparency very difficult. I understand this has been frustrating for both the staff and our community.
I am deeply saddened by the events that have transpired over the past few days.
As Board Chair, it was my responsibility to oversee our primary legal duty to ensure the stability of the organization. Yesterday we took an important step in that direction with the appointment of an Interim President and CEO, Dr. Jackie Schleifer Taylor.
In addition, yesterday, I tendered my resignation as Board Chair. I am deeply committed to community service, which is why I originally took on this role in a volunteer capacity. While I stand firm in my belief and understanding that I did nothing wrong, my resignation is a reflection of my deep commitment to doing what is best for the greater good. I regret that these events have caused distraction for hospital staff and the community at such a critical time.
I am confident that LHSC can move forward under the able leadership of Phyllis Retty as Acting Board Chair and Dr. Jackie Schleifer Taylor as Interim President and CEO. Together they will ensure that LHSC continues to provide high quality care to our communities during this global pandemic.”