Sharp Healthcare has found a CEO to succeed Mike Murphy, who announced his retirement in April.

Following a national search, Sharp’s board selected as CEO Christopher Howard, who has held various leadership positions over 23 years at St. Louis-based SSM Health. His first day with Sharp will be Jan. 31.

Most recently Howard was chief operations officer of SSM Health, a $7 billion health care delivery system with 40,000 employees.

“He brings a wealth of experience from one of the most respected integrated health care delivery systems in the country, and he is highly regarded for his leadership in health care quality and safety, patient experience, organizational culture, and business strategy,” said Richard Freeman, past chair of Sharp’s board and current chair of its executive search committee.

Howard received a master of science in health care administration, a master of arts and a bachelor of arts from the University of Oklahoma. He is also a Fellow in the American College of Health Care.

After 22 years as Sharp Healthcare’s CEO, Murphy will retire March 1. During his tenure, Sharp grew from $745 million in annual revenue in 1996 to more than $3.4 billion today. Sharp employs more than 18,000 health care workers.