George resigns from LSU board

Shreveport physician John George unexpectedly resigned from the LSU Board of Supervisors.

George’s seat on the LSU board as well as his position with the private foundation that took over management of LSU hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe had come under ethics scrutiny.

The Louisiana Board of Ethics advised no conflict of interest would exist as long as George received no compensation as chief executive officer of the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana. George also had to recuse himself from LSU Board of Supervisors decisions involving the hospital deal.

The Ethics Board said if the compensation situation changed, a conflict of interest would exist.

At the time of the Jindal administration’s LSU hospital privatization push, George served as chairman of the LSU board’s health care and education committee. He was also vice chairman of the foundation’s board. He has since become president and CEO.

George did not respond Wednesday to telephone and email requests for comment about his early departure from the board. His term extended into 2016.

George, who also has a background in business, did not cite a reason for his resignation in a May 28 letter to Gov. Bobby Jindal except to say, “I find that the time has come …

“It has been an honor to serve you and the state of Louisiana and to be part of a team that helped transform our charity hospital system to private ownership and management,” George wrote. “We proved that your vision for privatization could improve care, sustain accessibility to that care, and save the taxpayers of Louisiana millions of dollars in efficiencies for this hospital system.”

“We found the partners who would execute this bold initiative without any disruption of services,” he said. The foundation is one of those partners.

Jindal praised George’s service on the LSU board in a statement, referring to him as “a strong leader for LSU.”

“He helped us implement transformational health care reforms across our state, and we’re grateful for his service to the board,” Jindal said.

Jindal said his office is reviewing potential candidates to fill the vacancy.

On Monday, Jindal’s office announced the reappointment of four LSU board members. There was no mention of George’s resignation.

Follow Marsha Shuler on Twitter, @MarshaShulerCNB. For more coverage of the State Capitol, follow Louisiana Politics at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog/.