Doug Hawthorne, the longtime chief executive officer of Arlington-based Texas Health Resources, announced his intention to step down as leader of the North Texas hospital company by the end of the year.Hawthorne, 66, has been CEO since Texas Health Resources was created in 1997 through the merger of Presbyterian Healthcare Resources in Dallas, Harris Methodist Health System in Fort Worth and Arlington Memorial Hospital. At the time, Hawthorne was president and CEO of Presbyterian Healthcare.“For 43 years, my family and I have been blessed to serve Texas Health Resources,” Hawthorne said in a letter to the board and other leaders of Texas Health. “This has been an amazing journey and one for which I am extremely grateful.”Hawthorne said he and his wife want to spend more time with their children and grandchildren and plan to continue being involved in the community.Anne T. Bass, who chairs Texas Health’s board of trustees, will lead a committee in a nationwide search for a successor, with the goal of having a new leader by the fall. Hawthorne plans to remain as CEO until a successor is in place.“Texas Health has one of the strongest leadership teams of any healthcare system in the country — and this will not change,” Bass said in a statement. “We are financially stable and have the necessary resources and expertise to complete a successful realization of our strategy to transform healthcare in North Texas and become a nationally recognized health leader. Doug’s influence can be seen throughout the organization — from his strong relationships with employees, volunteers and physicians to leaders throughout the community.”W. Stephen Love, president and chief executive of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, said: “Doug’s integrity, leadership and collaborative spirit with other providers have been instrumental in making North Texas a healthcare delivery region that represents the gold standard for the rest of the nation. We wish him well in his well-deserved retirement.”Actually, Texas Health didn’t use the word retirement in its announcement on Hawthorne. “It is envisioned that Doug will remain connected to the organization in the future,” spokesman Wendell Watson said.Texas Health Resources is one of the area’s leading hospital companies, with 25 acute-care and short-stay hospitals. In 2012, it recorded operating income of $288.7 million on revenue of $3.7 billion.In recent years, Texas Health has continued to expand on the western side of the Metroplex, opening a 50-bed hospital at Alliance in far north Fort Worth in 2012; entering a joint venture with Adventist Health to manage Huguley Memorial Medical Center in far south Fort Worth in 2012; launching construction on an outpatient center in Willow Park last year; and recently opening a new $57 million emergency department at its Fort Wort hospital.