MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – UP Health System announced Thursday that Gar Atchison, market president of UPHS and chief executive officer of UPHS – Marquette, will step down from his role, effective late November.

In a press release, UPHS says Atchison, who has been with UPHS since 2019, was provided an opportunity to move back to his hometown of Petoskey, MI, to be closer to family, where he has also accepted a new position.

“The decision to leave my role at UPHS was a very difficult one for my family and me, but we know it is the right choice for us now,” said Atchison. “I am honored to have been part of UPHS and called the Upper Peninsula home for the last four years. Across this region, UPHS has a wonderful team of dedicated staff, providers and volunteers with a genuine commitment to advancing the health of their communities. I am proud to have been able to call myself one of them and confident that they will continue to flourish and thrive long after my departure.”

Atchison has served as CEO of UPHS – Marquette and market president of UPHS since 2019.

“Gar’s departure is a bittersweet one,” said Jerry Napier, MD, chair of the UPHS Board of Trustees. “We are pleased to see him make the right decision for his family, but disappointed to lose a great leader. I have always been impressed with his genuine concern for the health and welfare of the Upper Peninsula community. He did an excellent job in guiding us through the difficult times with the COVID-19 pandemic and other healthcare issues we faced in our region. He will be missed.”

UPHS says in the interim, Tonya Darner, current chief operating officer of UPHS – Marquette, has been appointed CEO of UPHS – Marquette.

“Our team is dedicated to supporting UPHS through this transition,” said Elmer Polite, eastern division president, Lifepoint Health. “UPHS hospitals have a lot of great initiatives underway, and we are committed to ensuring that their teams have the support and resources they need to continue their positive momentum and advance their efforts to make their communities healthier.”