UK HealthCare

Marks named King’s Daughters president/CEO; McFann role is expanded


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 26, 2023) — Sara Marks has been named president/CEO of King’s Daughters, effective April 30. The announcement was made today by University of Kentucky acting co-executive vice presidents for health affairs Robert S. DiPaola, M.D., and Eric N. Monday, Ph.D., and was approved unanimously by the Royal Blue Health Board. 

Marks, who previously was chief operating officer, was named interim CEO in December 2022 upon the retirement of Kristie Whitlatch who served King’s Daughters for 35 years. Marks will now be taking on the role permanently. 

As president/CEO, Marks will be responsible for all daily operations for King’s Daughters and provide vision and strategic leadership for the organization by working with the board of directors, the University of Kentucky leadership and senior leadership team. She will be responsible for developing and implementing policies and procedures, short-and long-range goals, objectives and plans and for the overall direction, coordination, development and evaluation of senior leaders. In this role she will report to the UK executive vice president for health affairs.

“Sara has demonstrated during her time as interim president/CEO and throughout her career at King’s Daughters that she is a very capable leader for the organization,” said Monday. “Her experience and passion in elevating and serving the employee teams at King’s Daughters is evident and makes her a great choice for the future of the health system. We look forward to her many accomplishments in this role.” 

Marks has worked at King’s Daughters since 2006 and has held positions including vice president of the Kentucky Heart Institute and vice president of King’s Daughters integrated practices before being named vice president and chief operating officer in August 2018. She has a bachelor’s degree in business with a focus on health care administration and is currently pursuing an MBA. 

Additionally, Autumn McFann who serves as senior vice president and chief administrative officer (CAO) and chief financial officer (CFO) of King’s Daughters will also take on the role of assistant treasurer and CFO of Beyond Blue Corporation, a wholly owned affiliated corporation of the University of Kentucky, and will be responsible for fiscal activities of the corporation reporting to the chair and treasurer of the corporation. 

McFann has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA and also is a certified public accountant. She has been employed at King’s Daughters since 2004 and held positions including controller, director of financial operations and director of internal audit before being named vice president and chief financial officer in February 2014.

Ashland-based King’s Daughters (KD), the largest employer in northeastern Kentucky, officially became part of UK on Dec. 1, 2022 — a move that creates greater access to high-quality care for more Kentuckians. 

King’s Daughters is comprised of two acute-care hospitals totaling 465 licensed beds; an integrated network of more than 400 physicians and advanced practitioners; 80 ambulatory centers and practice locations offering both primary and specialty care throughout eastern Kentucky and southern Ohio; a long-term care facility; medical transport company; seven urgent care centers; and a child development center. King’s Daughters is the region’s largest employer, with more than 5,000 team members.

UK HealthCare is the hospitals and clinics of the University of Kentucky. But it is so much more. It is more than 10,000 dedicated health care professionals committed to providing advanced subspecialty care for the most critically injured and ill patients from the Commonwealth and beyond. It also is the home of the state’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that cares for the tiniest and sickest newborns, the region’s only Level 1 trauma center and Kentucky’s top hospital ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

As an academic research institution, we are continuously pursuing the next generation of cures, treatments, protocols and policies. Our discoveries have the potential to change what’s medically possible within our lifetimes. Our educators and thought leaders are transforming the health care landscape as our six health professions colleges teach the next generation of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals, spreading the highest standards of care. UK HealthCare is the power of advanced medicine committed to creating a healthier Kentucky, now and for generations to come.