YAKIMA - Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital didn't have to look far for its next CEO, as current Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Russ Myers was appointed to the post. That's according to the hospital board's chair, Bill Dolsen, who this week announced Myers' selection upon Rick Linneweh's retirement. Linneweh, the current CEO of Memorial, will retire next January after 37 years of service. Myers will assume his role as CEO on Jan. 21, 2014. He joined Memorial in 1989 as a management analyst and served as a vice president over the course of his 24 years with Memorial. In his latest post as vice president and chief operating officer, he has successfully managed general operations for Memorial and its health services. "After 37 years of faithful service from Rick Linneweh, we knew we needed someone with a strong vision and the same passion for Memorial and the Yakima community that Rick has," said Dolsen. "We have that in Russ and are confident that he will continue to lead Memorial on the path toward success." For his part, Myers said he's looking forward to the challenges of taking over the top spot at Memorial. "It is an honor and privilege to assume the CEO position at Memorial," he said. "I have worked closely with Rick for 24 years and have learned a great deal from him during that time. Memorial, like all health care organizations across the U.S., has a daunting task ahead to be ready for the many provisions of the Affordable Care Act." Among other responsibilities and accomplishments, Myers has led Memorial's strategic planning and the pursuit of performance excellence using the National Baldrige criteria, considered the highest standard for hospital systems. Myers went through a rigorous evaluation process by the community-led board before it made the decision to appoint him as Memorial's next CEO. "Russ' strong vision for the future of health care and what it means for the Yakima community, proven leadership qualities and understanding and appreciation of Memorial's unmatched culture make him the right choice," said Dolsen.