Jonathan Bates announced his retirement Friday morning in Little Rock.
The hospital had a surprise of its own, saying it was creating a patient advocacy center in Bates' name.
The retiring CEO seemed a little overwhelmed by all the attention.
"It's also this idea of willful unemployment," he said. "I've worked since I was 10, so this is new for me. So the fact my wife survived it has given me hope."
Bates' official last day will be on June 30 of 2013.
The hospital says it has hired a recruiting firm and hopes to have a new CEO working by July 1.