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Daily Memphian
Le Bonheur Children’s begins search for new president, CEO
November 29, 2018
By Dr. Mary C. McDonald

After 12 years of leading Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, president and CEO Meri Armour plans to retire in 2019.

Armour was appointed in 2006, coming from the Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, where she worked as senior vice president and general manager.

When she came on board in early 2007, she had a distinct vision for turning the institution into a pediatric center of excellence, an advocate for children’s health, a catalyst for strategic community partnerships, a world-class educator of health professionals and a research innovator.

Heralded by colleagues as an advocate for children’s health, Armour helped turn Le Bonheur into an organization that works to improve the health of all children through evidence-based community programs.

Although Armour always wants to give credit to the team in place at Le Bonheur, she's always been the hospital’s greatest champion, advocate and fundraiser, Dr. Mary McDonald said in a prepared statement.

“She makes everyone understand the importance of investing in Le Bonheur for the future of our children,” said McDonald, one of the founders of Le Bonheur’s National Leadership Council. “She has been a catalyst for children’s health in Memphis.”

A search committee is working with national executive search firm Witt/Kieffer Inc. to identify the hospital’s next leader.

Armour has agreed to remain in her role until a new president and CEO is identified. Le Bonheur expects to have a new leader in place in 2019.

Armour led the effort to raise the funds to build the new $340 million, LEED-certified, 225-bed hospital that opened on Adams Avenue in 2010.

“Meri Armour is passionate about doing what’s right for children, and we are truly grateful for her dedication to our mission, outstanding leadership and passion for providing exceptional care to the children and families of the greater Memphis area and across the nation,” Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare president and CEO Michael Ugwueke said in a prepared statement. “She has been a visionary leader for Le Bonheur and we are proud of the path the hospital is on. I know the excellence she fostered has created a strong foundation of success that will continue for years to come.”

In February, Armour launched a $100 million endowment campaign to ensure funding for future Le Bonheur endeavors.

“Being the president and CEO of Le Bonheur has been the privilege of my lifetime,” Armour said in a prepared statement. “I love this place and all the dedicated people who work to help children every day. They are the true heroes and I want them to be proud of all we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what is next for Le Bonheur.”

Contact Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a national education consultant, at 574-2956 or visit

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