APRIA: Names New CEO In Rebound Effort
Troubled "Costa Mesa home health care giant" Apria Healthcare Group Inc. yesterday named "turnaround specialist" Philip Carter as its new CEO. The move comes one week after a board shakeup in which major shareholder George Argyros stepped down as chair after announcing he intended to purchase the company. The Los Angeles Times reports that newly appointed board chair Ralph Whitworth recruited Carter, who is credited "with engineering a corporate restructuring" that brought the stock of his former company, MacFrugal's Bargains-Closeouts, Inc., up 250%. The Times reports that Apria also named Richard Koppes, former deputy executive director and general counsel for CalPERS, to its board yesterday. Whitworth said both appointments "represent decisive steps in our continuing effort to restore Apria to operational health and realize its value for shareholders."
Those "familiar with Carter's career" believe he "is skilled at fixing ... operational snafus in internal financial systems." Retail analyst David Mann said, "Phil was instrumental in improving the informational systems at MacFrugal's. While at Apria the information systems will be different, he clearly has an understanding of the importance of systems and I assume those will be some of the issues he'll attack on Day One." Through a spokesperson, Carter said: "I plan to spend the next 90 days becoming fully immersed in the business to order to gain a thorough understanding of its operations and current initiatives" (Marsh, 5/6).