Abbey Healthcare Group filled two vacancies in its management team last week by appointing Jerilyn Asher president and Steven Plochocki chief operating officer of the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based home-care company.
Ms. Asher, 44, comes to Abbey from Protocare, a Waltham, Mass.-based home infusion company Abbey purchased last January for $12 million in cash and an undisclosed amount of Abbey stock. Since the acquisition, Ms. Asher also has held titles of executive vice president of sales and operations at the company.
Mr. Plochocki, 42, had been executive vice president of sales and operations at Abbey.
Timothy Aitken, Abbey's chairman and CEO, cited Ms. Asher's entrepreneurial success as a founder of Protocare, as well as the company's strong track record of meeting its financial goals, as key reasons behind her appointment as president. Privately held Protocare, which provides home infusion services from 16 locations in the Northeast, is the second-largest home infusion company under Abbey's corporate banner.
The largest is Total Pharmaceutical Care, which Abbey purchased for $197 million in November (Sept. 13, 1993, p. 21).
Ms. Asher replaces Total Pharmaceutical's former head, Victor Chaltiel, who was ousted by Mr. Aitken in February after serving less than four months as Abbey's president and CEO.
Mr. Chaltiel has since filed a $6 million lawsuit against his former boss and company, accusing them of fraud, breach of contract and deceit (June 13, p. 52).
However, Mr. Aitken told shareholders at Abbey's annual meeting on June 16 in Costa Mesa that while he expressed "some regret" that the management of Total Pharmaceutical did not meet Abbey's standards of performance, he expected "a successful conclusion" to the suit filed by Mr. Chaltiel.
He also defended the purchase of Total Pharmaceutical. Such acquisitions make Abbey attractive to "aggressive" managed-care companies such as United HealthCare Corp. that require "one-stop shopping for home healthcare," he said.
United has a national contract with only one other home healthcare company besides Abbey, executives said. The other company, Olsten Kimberly QualityCare, recently signed a contract with United to provide comprehensive home healthcare services to United's 20 health plans nationwide. Terms of the deal weren't released. Westbury, N.Y.-based Olsten is the nation's largest home-care company, providing nursing and home-care staffing services through 600 branch offices.
In the meantime, Abbey will proceed cautiously with future acquisitions, concentrating on "increasing our density" in specific geographic areas, Mr. Aitken said.
"We're keen on bringing people into the company who have been successful in running their own companies," Mr. Aitken said.