LAKELAND – Watson Clinic’s board has elected Dr. Steven G. Achinger 45, as managing partner, replacing Dr. Louis Saco, who resigned in December as longtime chief executive officer of the 220-member, multi-specialty physician group.

As the managing partner, Achinger, a nephrologist who joined Watson Clinic in 2009, will oversee the management and business strategy of the 77-year-old company.

“I look forward to collaborating with our Board of Directors, administrative team, and every member of our physician, nursing and medical support staff to further build upon the Watson Clinic legacy for this and future generations,” Achinger said in a news release.

He was elected to the position by the partners in practice and started the job March 2, said Jenny Baker, public relations and communications manager.

Achinger is board-certified in both internal medicine and nephrology, has published 22 peer-reviewed articles and serves on the editorial board of Frontiers in Medicine. He will continue working as a nephrologist at Watson Clinic's main campus, 1600 Lakeland Hills Blvd.

“I will work diligently to elevate the level of healthcare delivery in Polk County by combining state-of-the-art therapeutics with cutting-edge clinical research, all focused on improving healthcare outcomes for our residents,” he said in the statement.

Achinger received his medical degree from the University of Miami and completed his schooling at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, including an internship and residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in nephrology. He and his wife live in Lakeland and have three children.