LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Steve Williams, who transformed Norton Healthcare into the area's hospital juggernaut, will retire at the end of year after 23 years leading the nonprofit healthcare provider. 

Russell Cox, the organization's president, will succeed Williams as CEO, Norton said in a press release Friday.

Williams grew Norton through hospital acquisitions, expansions and new construction in northeastern Jefferson County. The organization's net revenue of about $2 billion annually is up from $269 million in 1993 when Williams assumed the top job, according to Norton. Adjusted for inflation, that is more than a four-fold increase.

Norton's market share for hospital services in the Louisville area is now just over 50 percent, double its closest competitor, according to a Fitch Ratings report issued in June. Norton also has about 13,000 employees, up from 4,600 when Williams took over, according to Norton.

“The organization today known as Norton Healthcare enjoyed its greatest period of growth and expansion under Steve’s leadership,” said Donald H. Robinson, chairman of the Norton Board of Trustees, in the news release. 

Under Williams, Norton also fought bruising legal battles with two longtime partners: the University of Louisville and Kosair Charities. Both disputes were eventually settled.

The full release from Norton is below.