ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The longtime chief executive officer of University of New Mexico Hospitals has announced his retirement.

Steve McKernan says he will retire on Oct. 1, but will stay on in an “emeritus CEO” role through the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2018. He will remain a consultant after that.

The Albuquerque Journal ( reports that administrator Michael Chicarelli will become interim CEO.

McKernan has been with the state’s only Level 1 trauma center and academic medical facility since 1980.

He has been CEO since 1996.

McKernan’s retirement comes amid UNM’s latest bid to build a new hospital.

Information from: Albuquerque Journal,