Nashville, TN — HCA (NYSE: HCA) announced today that its chief executive officer, R. Milton Johnson, will become chairman of HCA's board of directors, effective December 31, 2014.

“As a longtime HCA veteran and executive leader, Milton has a keen understanding of hospital operations and a strong commitment to HCA's patients-first culture,” said Richard M. Bracken, chairman of HCA's board of directors. “He is ideally suited to lead HCA to continued success.”

Johnson has held various financial and executive leadership positions since joining the company in 1982. Prior to assuming his current position as president and chief executive officer in January 2014, Johnson served as president and chief financial officer from 2011 through 2013 and executive vice president and chief financial officer from 2004 to 2011. He has served as a director of the company since 2009. He and his wife, Denice, have two children and one grandchild.

Johnson will replace Bracken, who, as previously announced, will retire from the company after 33 years, also effective December 31.

Bracken, who began his career with HCA in 1981, has held various executive positions within the company. He served as chief executive officer from January 2009 through 2013 and has served as chairman since December 2009.

HCA and its affiliates operate 165 hospitals and 113 ambulatory surgery centers in 20 states and England.