ST. PETERSBURG — Dennis Sexton ran All Children's Hospital for three decades, shepherding it from a 40-bed institution to a 219-bed powerhouse with more than 2,000 employees. After he retired 10 years ago, an administration building near the hospital was named in his honor.
But last week, Sexton, 71, asked that hospital officials remove his name from that building "because of how they treat people'' and because "I feel family is very important.''
Sexton declined to go into detail about his request but confirmed that it was prompted by the firing of his son, Michael, as the hospital's director of creative services, as well as the departure of Ann Miller, longtime director of communications who organized the hospital's annual telethon fundraiser.
Sexton said his son and Miller "were a talented duo and did some great work. And I'm not saying that just because he is my son.
Michael Sexton, 48, could not be reached for comment. Miller, 56, declined comment.
In an email to employees this week, All Children's president Dr. Jonathan Ellen said the building, at 500 Seventh S, will now be called the "500 building.'' The email also said Sexton had requested that the hospital foundation not use his family's name in any fundraising mailings.
In an interview, Sexton said his name removal request was not aimed at Ellen, who was brought in from Baltimore after the hospital merged with Johns Hopkins Medicine. Sexton said his beef was with "other people'' he declined to name.
Miller reported to Michael Sexton, who reported to Cindy Rose, vice president of marketing, branding and community relations.
Rose, speaking on behalf of the hospital, declined to discuss how and why Michael Sexton left. She did say that Miller resigned a few weeks ago.
"I hate that we lost Ann Miller, she was wonderful,'' Rose said. "Those are big shoes to fill.''
Rose also said the hospital will reluctantly honor Dennis Sexton's request.
"We appreciate so much all that Dennis has done,'' Rose said. "We tried to talk him out of removing his name, but that just did not happen.''
Times staff writer Jodie Tillman contributed.