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CEO of South Shore Health stepping down amid investigation by board

Dr. Gene Green was placed on leave in August while the South Shore Health board reviewed “various operational and administrative issues.” The organization announced he was stepping down as chief executive in a statement Friday.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

South Shore Health’s chief executive, Dr. Gene E. Green, is stepping down after he was suspended and investigated by the health system’s board.

Green was placed on leave in August while the board reviewed “various operational and administrative issues.” South Shore officials have not specified what led to Green’s suspension or his departure.

In a statement Friday, the organization said Green “has informed South Shore Health that he will not be returning to the organization.”

South Shore officials declined to answer questions about Green’s conduct and performance as CEO or to disclose any findings of the investigation of him. A spokeswoman said the health system would not comment on “personnel matters.”

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South Shore Health, the parent of the 393-bed South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, announced Green’s suspension on Aug. 13. The company also suspended Wayne Stockbridge, its chief administrative officer and chief human resources officer. South Shore declined to say Friday whether Stockbridge was still working there.

The health system hired the law firms Choate, Hall & Stewart and Littler to conduct a review. That investigation involved allegations Green created a hostile work environment, according to one person familiar with the matter. Green did not respond Friday to a request for comment from the Globe.

South Shore’s statement quoted Green saying: “I am proud and honored to have had the opportunity to lead the system over the past four years, during which it has become a leading community-based healthcare provider and is well-positioned for future growth.”

Rose DiPietro, who became interim CEO when Green was suspended, will continue in that role while South Shore searches for a permanent leader. DiPietro is a former South Shore executive who retired last year.

Green became CEO in November 2015 after running Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., part of the Johns Hopkins health system.

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South Shore is one of the largest community hospital systems in Massachusetts. It has long been affiliated with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, part of the Partners HealthCare system. It sought to be acquired by Partners until early 2015, when Partners walked away from the deal because of opposition from Attorney General Maura Healey.But South Shore officials have been considering a change. This summer, Green revealed that he was negotiating a merger with Wellforce, the parent company of Tufts Medical Center. Green had pushed for the Wellforce deal — to the disappointment of Brigham and Partners officials — and was interested in becoming CEO of Wellforce, several people familiar with the matter told the Globe.

It’s unclear if South Shore will try to complete a deal before appointing a permanent CEO. In their statement Friday, officials indicated they would continue “ongoing partnership discussions.”

Wellforce officials declined to comment. Wellforce is still searching for its own permanent chief executive following the retirement of Normand Deschene at the end of 2018. Dr. Michael Wagner, the former CEO of Tufts Medical Center, is serving as interim CEO.

South Shore officials on Friday credited Green for overseeing the construction of a new intensive care unit, implementing a new electronic health record system, acquiring a chain of urgent care centers, and winning the contract for emergency ambulance service for the town of Weymouth.

“The high-quality, affordable care South Shore Health provides to its patients and families will continue uninterrupted,” officials said in their statement.

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Priyanka Dayal McCluskey can be reached at priyanka.mccluskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @priyanka_dayal.