A publicity photo of the Shepherd Center's main hospital at 2020 Peachtree Road.

Shepherd Center CEO Sarah Morrison will retire next year after seven years leading the private rehabilitation hospital. 

Replacing her on Sept. 21, 2024, will be President and Chief Operating Officer Jamie Shepherd, a son and grandson of the hospital’s co-founders.

Morrison will wrap up a 40-year career at the hospital at 2020 Peachtree Road in Buckhead, where she started in 1984 as a physical therapist, according to a press release. After serving in various leadership positions, she became CEO in 2017.

“It has been one of the highlights of my life to serve our patients and their families alongside our staff – the best team in the world,” said Morrison in the press release. “I am so proud and grateful for what we have accomplished together to help thousands of patients and families begin again after injury or illness.”

Retiring Shepherd Center CEO Sarah Morrison, left, and successor Jamie Shepherd, the hospital’s president and chief operating officer.

The hospital was founded in 1975 by the Shepherd family. James H. Shepherd Jr. suffered a spinal cord injury while bodysurfing in Brazil. Frustrated by the lack of rehabilitation centers, he and his parents Harold and Alana co-founded the Shepherd Center, along with Dr. David Apple, its first medical director. Today, the 152-bed hospital and its facilities are a nationally known center for the treatment of spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, as well as other complex conditions, such as multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis and pain.

Jamie Shepherd is the son of James Shepherd Jr. At the hospital, he also serves on the Board of Directors and is a founding member of the Shepherd Center Society, the institution’s nonprofit fundraising arm. Outside the hospital, his board memberships include Atlanta Classical Academy and Shepherd Construction Company, a family business founded by Harold Shepherd. He is an active member of Buckhead’s Peachtree Presbyterian Church. 

“Jamie Shepherd is an immensely talented leader who is well-positioned to usher Shepherd Center into its next 50 years,” said Morrison in the press release. “He knows our culture, business and community inside and out, and I look forward to serving alongside him over the next 10 months as he transitions to serving as CEO.”

The hospital is in the midst of a major campus expansion, with construction underway along Peachtree Road on the Arthur M. Blank Family Residences and the Marcus Center for Advanced Rehabilitation, which are scheduled to open in 2024 and 2025.

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