Essent founder and 30-year industry veteran, Hud Connery, no longer the company's chief exec; replaced by CFO Browder
[Update, 2:26 p.m. Monday:]
Following the posting of this article on Friday, David Jarrard, a spokesman for Essent, sent an email to NashvillePost.com confirming the departure.
Jarrard disputed NashvillePost.com’s characterization of the shift saying, “the transition is not unfriendly.”
In the e-mail, Jarrard also said that “Connery has no options with Essent,” and “Essent staff were informed of the transition earlier [last] week.” While repeated attempts to contact Jarrard seeking clarification have so far gone unanswered, NashvillePost.com understands that Connery does in fact have a sizable equity interest in the company, though the use of the word "options" was technically incorrect. Further, NashvillePost.com understands that despite some staff’s having been informed, as of Friday afternoon the vast majority of Essent’s employees were unaware of the move.
According to Jarrard, discussions of a possible sale have been tabled for the time being noting that “every Essent hospital is profitable and growing in their markets."
NashvillePost.com will further update this story as more information becomes available.
[As originally posted:]
NashvillePost.com has learned that Essent Healthcare founder and 30-year industry veteran Hud Connery has been forced to step down as CEO by the company’s board of directors.
According to NashvillePost.com sources, the hospital operator’s CFO Mike Browder has been tapped to serve as the acting CEO and, they claim, is a candidate to take the helm of the company permanently.
The board, led by investors from Thoma Cressey, has not announced the change, even to Essent’s staff, as the shift, apparently, is not an amicable one. Allegedly, Connery and the board are currently at odds over a severance package; his interest in the company could total several million dollars, NashvillePost.com has been told.
Sources went on to claim that the board and a number of Essent’s investors would like to sell the company.
Connery launched Essent in 1999. The company’s first hospital was purchased in April of 2000. Prior to that he was the leader of the now-defunct Arcon Healthcare. That company, which was based on a “hospitals without beds'' concept, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1998.
Currently, Essent lists five hospitals on its website.
The company released a statement confirming Connery's departure late Friday.
- ALEX B FRUIN INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDACE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDANCE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; FRUIN, ALEX B TRUSTEE; FRUIN ALEX B INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC, CANDACE F TRUSTEE; STEFANSIC CANDACE F INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC CANDANCE F INHERITANCE TRUST
- ROSS, BRIDGETT D
- COOKE, ETHEN LANYARD TRUSTEE; COOKE, ETHEN LEWIS ESTATE
- JACOBS, JESSICA ALEXANDRA; JACOBS, ERIKA BESS