Less than one month after Deborah Paganelli left Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital, a new president has been chosen to replace her.

Texas Health Resources (THR), the largest health care system in North Texas, announced Friday that Christopher Leu will head the Stephenville hospital.

Leu has been with THR, and before that with Harris Methodist Health System, for nearly 15 years. He is currently vice president of operations and business development at Arlington Memorial Hospital.

Leu replaces Paganelli, who was recently tapped to head Harris Methodist HEB Hospital in Bedford.

“Chris brings a wealth of experience to Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital,” said Barclay Berdan, senior executive vice president for system alignment and performance for THR. “He is a proven leader with an in-depth knowledge of hospital administration. THR’s philosophy is to nurture and grow talent within our system and to promote our best people into positions where they can make the greatest positive impact on our mission. We know that Chris will make significant contributions to the Stephenville community.”

HMEC acting President Marcy Derrick echoed that sentiment saying the staff is “thrilled” that Leu is coming on board.

“He brings years of experience working within our healthcare system and a personality that will fit well within our community,” Derrick said.

Leu joined Arlington Memorial Hospital in 1998. Prior to that, he was director of finance for the Harris Methodist Health System where he gained experience over the years in health care finance, contracting, compliance, hospital operations and business development.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to lead a hospital with such a long and distinguished history of service to Erath County,” Leu said. “I look forward to meeting the people of Stephenville and the surrounding communities. Together we will strengthen the collaboration among the hospital, physicians and community leaders to further improve services and access to quality care.”

Leu and his wife, Dr. Melissa Garretson, a pediatric emergency medicine physician on the medical staff at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, plan to move their family to Stephenville this summer. Chris and Melissa have four-year-old twins, Katie and Connor.

Leu received both an M.B.A and a master of arts in hospital and health administration from The University of Iowa. He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance and speech communication from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. He is a board member and chairman of the finance committee for Community Hospice of Texas, the largest not-for-profit hospice provider in the state.

Leu will officially begin his new position at HMEC July 9.