BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The current chief operating officer at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center (MBPCC) is poised to take over as chief executive officer in January of the new year.

The cancer center said in a Thursday announcement Dr. Jonas Fontenot, Ph.D., M.B.A. will be succeeding 23-year CEO, Todd Stevens.

“Managing the largest cancer care organization in the state requires a thoughtful and orderly succession planning process,” said Tom Meek, M.D., past Board chair, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. “We built the foundation of today’s announcement almost a decade ago and I am certain that Dr. Fontenot is the absolute right choice to lead Mary Bird Perkins into the future.”

MBPCC said after the transition Stevens will shift his focus on strategic business development and growth opportunities for the cancer center. During his tenure, Stevens invested in facilities by focusing on patient-centered care and new technology as well as recruitment.

“It has been a privilege to lead Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center for the past 23 years. I have had the opportunity to work with an incredible team of healthcare professionals and hundreds of stakeholders who share a passion to lessen the burden of cancer,” said Stevens. “I am excited about the future of the organization under Dr. Fontenot’s leadership and look forward to dedicating my time to building relationships with physicians and organizations to grow Mary Bird Perkins’ network.”

Fontenot is described by the cancer center as an accomplished scientist, clinician, educator and key leadership member.

“It will be an honor and a privilege to lead Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center,” said Fontenot. “I am excited to represent the most talented and dedicated cancer care staff and oncology physicians in the Gulf South. We are uniquely positioned to support cancer patients across our communities and I look forward to building on Todd’s legacy to ensure Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center continues to live its mission to improve survivorship and lessen the burden of cancer.”