BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — One of Western New York’s largest healthcare systems is transitioning to new leadership.

Announced Wednesday morning, President and CEO Mark Sullivan is stepping down after 30 years with the company. His career started as an intern at Sisters Hospital in 1994 before he later took leadership positions within Catholic Health such as Chief Operating Officer. He was named President & CEO in 2018.

Catholic Health’s Corporate Members & Sponsors Council says Joyce Markiewicz, the healthcare system’s executive vice president and chief business development officer, is taking his place.

The change is not a sudden one, as Council Chair Robert Zapfel says transition planning “has been underway for quite some time.”

“Joyce’s strong advocacy for our patients, physicians, and caregivers; track record of success; steady leadership style; and devotion to Catholic Health’s Mission, made her the ideal person to serve as our next President and CEO,” Board of Directors Chair Maureen Athoe said.

Catholic Health credits Sullivan with spearheading plans to develop Lockport Memorial Hospital, the new Catholic Health facility set to fill the hole caused by the closure of Eastern Niagara Hospital. It’s scheduled to open in November and in the meantime, Catholic Health has a temporary emergency room on Transit Road in Lockport, which opened this past June.

Bishop Michael Fisher, the head of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, had kind words for Sullivan and Markiewicz.

“He helped lead the transformation of healthcare in our community and we pray for God’s blessings for him,” Fisher said. “We also extend our blessings to Joyce Markiewicz as she is named President & CEO of Catholic Health. Her experience, expertise, and commitment to advancing healthcare in our community will assist those associated with Catholic Health continue our shared ministry of healing and service to all those in need.”

Going forward, Catholic Health says Sullivan “plans to pursue opportunities to mentor, educate, and prepare the next generation of healthcare executives.”

Markiewicz, like Sullivan, has an extensive history with Catholic Health, hers dating back to 2005 when she became Vice President of Home Care Operations. Prior to this, Markiewicz worked as a registered nurse, and a leader in home healthcare organizations.

Since first joining Catholic Health, Markiewicz has also served as President & CEO of Home Care, as well as President & CEO of Home & Community Based Care. She will assume her new role on Sept. 1, becoming the company’s fifth President and CEO since its formation in 1998.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.