The Chief of Surgery at Seattle Grace Hospital. He strives to balance both the medicinal and financial sides of running such an important institution.
Richard Webber often refers to the financial implications of things, such as Derek punching out Mark (and risking his "$2 million-per-year hand"), or why he cannot prevent the nurses union from striking.
In Season One, Richard had Derek operate on a tumor pressing on his optic nerve, emphasizing that the surgery be downplayed so his position as chief wouldn't be jeopardized. Dr. Webber made a full and speedy recovery and retained his post.
Considered a mentor to both Dr. Burke and Dr. Shepherd, two of his hospital's elite surgeons and both of whom aspire to succeed him as chief of surgery, Richard is also a close friend of Dr. Ellis Grey, mother of Meredith. It was revealed in bits and pieces throughout the first three seasons that he and the elder Grey had an extensive affair.
In the start of Season Three, Richard's wife, Adele, leaves him when she gives him an ultimatum to retire and he doesn't. He moves into a hotel (where Callie and Mark are also residing). Months later, he decides to pass the torch at SGH and try to win her back, but she turns him back - as he sees there is a man with her in his house.
Weeks pass, and we learn Adele is pregnant - with Richard's baby. Addison saves her during an emergency medical episode (one she initially tried to keep from Richard) and she agrees to "carry on" with Richard going forward.