Sam Odle, a longtime executive at Methodist Hospital and Indiana University Health, will retire from the hospital system next month, saying he wants to spend more time with his family and on personal pursuits.
Odle, 62, is the chief operating officer of Indianapolis-based IU Health and serves as CEO of both Methodist Hospital and University Hospital.
He will be replaced after July 13 on an interim basis by Jim Terwilliger, who became vice president of IU Health Cancer Services last year after serving as an executive at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. IU Health will conduct a national search for a permanent replacement.
“I’d like to make more memories at home rather than more memories at work,” Odle said Friday morning. “It’s not that I’m not passionate about health care, but I just believe that I’ve made a lot of trade-offs for my career. Now I’m at a point where I don’t want to make those trade-offs anymore.”
Odle said he came to that conclusion during a three-month recovery from major back surgery at the beginning of this year, when he worked only part-time from home. His normal, full-time work weeks include more than 60 hours on the job.
“It gave me a lot of time to reflect on how we spend our time,” said Odle, who is raising two daughters, aged 16 and 11, with his wife, Alexis. He also said he’d like to travel and play golf while he is still in good health.
Odle is not only one of the most prominent hospital leaders in the city but also one of the highest-ranking black executives. He was inducted into the Indiana Business Hall of Fame in 2007.
He joined Methodist Hospital in 1981 as vice president of operations and stayed with the organization through its 1996 merger with Indiana University Hospital and Riley Hospital for Children. The combined organization, initially called Clarian Health, recently changed its name to IU Health.
Odle played key roles in IU Health opening new hospitals in Avon, Carmel and now Fishers. He also has been overseeing the creation of the IU Health Neuroscience Center as well as plans for a new 175- to 250-bed tower at Methodist.
His proudest achievements: helping to make Hoosiers healthier and the formation of the leadership team that is now at IU Health.
“I think we’ve got one of the strongest leadership teams here in the country. That’s why I’m very comfortable leaving,” he said. “IU Health won’t miss a beat with my choosing to retire right now.”
Odle said he hopes to do some consulting for health care companies, as well as continue his volunteer efforts with the Boy Scouts of America and the United Way of Central Indiana. Odle has been a board member on the Scouts' local Crossroads Council for 11 years and has been a United Way volunteer for more than four decades. In 2008, he served as chairman of United Way’s annual fundraising campaign, which raised nearly $39 million.
“That’s what I still would like to do, to make Indiana even healthier than we are,” Odle said. He added, “If we could get every 10-year-old boy or girl involved in scouting, I just think that they would be healthier as teenagers and adults.”
Dan Evans, the CEO of IU Health, praised Odle’s service in a prepared statement.
“Sam’s visionary leadership has helped grow the Indiana University Health system, inspired and motivated countless employees and made a lasting impact on the local and national health care communities,” Evans said. “We wish Sam and his family all of the best and thank him for his commitment to IU Health.”