The chairman of ailing care provider Southern Cross Healthcare has resigned amid further pressure on its finances.
Ray Miles, who has been chairman for three years, is being replaced by Christopher Fisher, a current non-executive director at the company, which is the largest provider of residential care in the country.
In a statement, Miles said: “Given that my own experience has mainly been building businesses and improving their operational performance and that the company now faces a period of intense financial restructuring, it is time to hand over to others with more experience of this.”
Fisher has a background in investment banking and was a managing director at financial giant Lazard.
The news comes with Southern Cross in negotiations with the landlords who own most of its 750 care homes to bring down rents that the provider has described as “unsustainable”.
Concerns over its financial position led the government to send officials in to talk to the company in a bid to protect its 31,000 residents, most of whom are state-funded.
The company has said that it expects to avoid administration by successfully negotiating down rents, a position backed by care market expert William Laing.
However, it said today that its financial outlook had come under further pressure due to “the additional disruption” caused by its announcement of a restructure.
Fisher added: “Ray has served as chairman for over three years and the board would like to record its genuine appreciation for his contribution to the company over this period. Looking ahead, the board is focused on supporting [chief executive] Jamie Buchan and his executive team in promoting an orderly restructuring of the company’s affairs, to stabilise its financial position and to provide the business with a sustainable platform for the future while at the same time ensuring the continued delivery of high quality care for residents.”
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