For the media

Sharp welcomes new CEO, Chris Howard

By The Health News Team | February 4, 2019
Sharp welcomes new CEO, Chris Howard

Chris Howard is the new president and CEO of Sharp HealthCare.

Although he most recently worked halfway across the country, Sharp HealthCare’s new president and CEO Chris Howard is no stranger to The Sharp Experience.

In a recent interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune, Howard remarked how he “emulated the finer qualities of The Sharp Experience, trying to create an exceptional experience for the patients and creating an environment where people want to work,” while serving as an executive at SSM Health.

Howard held numerous leadership positions at the St. Louis-based health system composed of 24 owned hospitals, 25 affiliated hospitals, 40,000 employees, 10,000 affiliated physicians, a health plan and numerous other provider components.

Howard, like other observant executives and professionals in the health care industry, took early notice of The Sharp Experience. When Sharp launched the initiative in 2001 — deliberately designed to help propel the organization from good to great — a key call to action was lighting the spark of possibility to ignite a flame of positive change among more than 14,000 employees. The ultimate goal was, and remains, to transform the health care experience and make Sharp the best place to work, the best place to practice medicine and the best place to receive care.

Today, 18 years later, that flame still burns bright as Sharp’s 18,000 employees welcome a new leader to preside over Sharp’s vision to be the best. Howard replaces Mike Murphy, who is retiring after serving more than 22 years as president and CEO.

During Murphy’s tenure, Sharp grew from $745 million in annual revenue in 1996 to more than $3.8 billion today. Sharp has become San Diego County’s largest health care provider with four acute-care hospitals, three specialty hospitals, three affiliated medical groups and a health plan.

While already very familiar with Sharp, Howard plans to get up close and personal with those who deliver The Sharp Experience by embarking on a listening tour across the system as one of his initial priorities.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to meet the people of Sharp face to face,” said Chris. “Employees, physicians and volunteers have all worked together to make Sharp the great place that it is, and I look forward to hearing their stories of success and doing my part to help ensure that good remains the enemy of great.”

Howard’s first official day at Sharp was Jan. 31, 2019. Mike Murphy will assist with his transition through March 1, Murphy’s retirement date.

For the news media: To speak with Chris Howard for an upcoming story, contact John Cihomsky, vice president of public relations and communications, at

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