Palomar Health announced the retirement Tuesday of president and CEO Robert Hemker.

Hemker, who said he wanted to spend more time with his family, was an executive with the North County healthcare provider for 16 years. He was chief financial officer when promoted to the top spot in June 2014.

Bob Hemker, the president and CEO of Palomar Health. Courtesy photo

His departure follows an August survey in which 97 percent of 1,300 unionized nurses at Palomar Health said they had no confidence in Hemker, contending that the operator of three hospitals in Escondido and Poway was beset by staffing and supply shortages, as well as high employee turnover.

Diane Hansen was appointed interim president and chief executive while a national search is conducted. Hansen has been Palomar Health’s executive vice president of finance for the past three years.

“The Board of Directors is deeply grateful for Bob’s leadership of our organization,” said Palomar Health board Chairwoman Dara Czerwonka. “His life and career have been guided by his compassion and caring for others.”

— City News Service