P-1 Mug -- Hospital CEO Keisha Smith.jpg

Nekeisha Smith has been named chief executive officer of Riverland Medical Center, replacing Sam Ellard, who resigned.

Riverland Board Chairman Jim Graves said Ellard, who lives in Kosciusko, Ms., is pursuing a job closer to home.

Riverland will move into its new facility -- Trinity Medical Center -- on Feb. 23.

Smith, who has worked at Riverland for 21 years, was serving as chief operating officer before being promoted to CEO.

"Keisha knows the ins and outs of the hospital and has been working with Sam for a couple of years," Graves said. "We're excited to have her as CEO and know she will do a great job for us."

Graves said Ellard had been driving “three hours to work every day. Sam leaves us in fantastic shape and was a big reason we were able to build the new hospital."

Ellard was named CEO of Riverland in 2018 after serving as chief operating officer for three-and-a-half years before leaving briefly to take the position of Director of Finance at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson. 

Smith graduated from Natchez High School before attending Alcorn State. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson in 1999, majoring in Health Information Management and is a registered health information manager and certified coding specialist.

"I've learned that nothing is easy, you have to work for it," Smith said. "I'm a firm believer that if God brought you to it, God will bring you through it. I am very thankful for this opportunity and up for the challenge."

Smith said most of her work now is preparing for the opening of Trinity Medical Center.

"We are spending numerous hours in anticipation of a smooth transition," Smith said. "I have a great support system here. We are all pulling together to accomplish great things."

Smith will also be working with a new board member after Randy Hoggatt resigned.

The Concordia Parish Police Jury will name a replacement in the near future. Applications for the board position are being accepted.

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