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The president and chief medical officer of Henry Ford Health System is retiring in 2018, the system announced Wednesday.

Dr. John Popovich, who also served as the health system’s executive vice president, plans to leave at the end of the second quarter of 2018, the announcement said. He will have spent more than 40 years with the system after starting as an intern at Henry Ford Hospital in 1975, fresh out of medical school.

A system spokesman on Wednesday said: “In the coming months, a search committee will be formed to select Dr. Popovich’s successor.”

Popovich wrote more than 150 journal articles, scientific abstracts and book chapters over his long career, the system said.

“Dr. Popovich is known for his love of the people at Henry Ford Hospital and his affection for the city of Detroit,” Wright Lassiter III, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System, said in a press release.

“His legacy includes building, leading and nurturing a team that is well-positioned to continue the hospital’s reputation as an academic medical center highly regarded for its research, education and clinical excellence.”

Popovich became a senior staff physician for Henry Ford Medical Group in 1980 and was named director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit, where he developed the critical care training program. He was later appointed division head for pulmonary and critical care medicine.

Popovich became chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine in 1999. He was named the health system’s senior vice president for clinical affairs in 2008, and president and CEO of Henry Ford Hospital in 2010. He assumed the role of medical officer and executive vice president for the health system two years later.

In a press release Wednesday, Bob Riney, president of health care operations and chief operating officer for Henry Ford Health System, said the system is “grateful to Dr. Popovich for all of his contributions and are very happy that he is committed to continuing to lead many key strategies for Henry Ford Hospital until his retirement.”

KBouffard@detroitnews.com

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