MATTOON -- Timothy Ols, president of Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center since 2011, is no longer with the hospital.

Ols left the position on Thursday, according to a news release from SBLHC. It did not give an explanation for his departure and no additional information on the reason was available.

SBLHC spokeswoman Patty Peterson said only that Ols "did not resign." She said the hospital's board "respects the confidential nature of employment matters" and wouldn't discuss the reason for Ols' departure.

Sarah Bush Lincoln spokeswoman Kim Uphoff later clarified that hospital officials cannot say whether Ols did or did not resign, and she reiterated that SBLHC respects the confidentiality of employment of all personnel.

Peterson referred other questions to Steve Wente, the hospital board's president, who also declined to comment.

Contacted Friday afternoon, Ols also said he couldn't speak about the reason for his leaving SBLHC. He said he enjoyed his time at the hospital and was pleased with its growth and quality improvement during his tenure.

Ols replaced Gary Barnett, who retired, as SBLHC's president after serving in hospital administrative positions in Ohio. He also worked for the Urbana-based Carle Clinic Association and lived in Champaign before moving to Ohio in 2002.

The news release said SBLHC administrator Jerry Esker has been named the hospital's interim president.

Esker was previously the SBLHC vice president of practice management, overseeing its clinics and physician offices, and has been with the hospital for more than 30 years.

Wente said the board has "a lot of confidence in Esker" and "we are fortunate to have him at the helm."

Peterson said the schedule to name a permanent president is yet to be determined.