The chief administrator of Inova Loudoun Hospital, Loudoun County's only hospital, is leaving his job after five years for a higher post with Inova Health System.

Starting Jan. 1, Rodney N. Huebbers will be executive vice president of Inova's east region, which includes Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, Inova Alexandria Hospital and the Inova Healthplex in Lorton, hospital officials said Tuesday.

Inova officials have not chosen Huebbers's successor or decided how they will conduct a search, said spokeswoman Beth Visioli.

Huebbers arrived in Loudoun in 2000 to become chief executive of what was a troubled hospital. After moving from Leesburg to its new Lansdowne campus in 1997, Loudoun Hospital Center had nearly $27 million in losses over two years. The campus, whose plans did not forecast Loudoun's explosive growth, was regularly filled to capacity, and patients complained of long waits in the emergency room.

Under Huebbers's leadership, the hospital stemmed the red ink and began a period of expansion. It grew from 80 beds to 155. It added units, including its $4 million Birthing Inn, which opened in 2003, and doubled the size of its obstetrics ward. A new intensive care unit and pediatric emergency department are in the works.

The Loudoun hospital partnered with Inova, a nonprofit chain of Northern Virginia hospitals, in 2001 and merged with Inova this spring. At that time, Huebbers became the hospital's administrator.

Huebbers has been a vocal opponent of a bid by Nashville-based HCA Corp. to build a 164-bed hospital five miles from Inova Loudoun in the Broadlands community of eastern Loudoun. In August, after three years of bitter public debate and several court hearings, the county Board of Supervisors denied the company's application to build the hospital. HCA has filed a lawsuit contesting the denial.

Huebbers was chief executive of the two-hospital, nonprofit Putnam Hospital Inc. in New York. He is a native of Warwick, R.I.