Charter Medical Corp., the nation's largest psychiatric hospital chain, will move its corporate headquarters to Atlanta effective Oct. 1.
The chain of 102 hospitals in 16 states has been based in Macon, Ga., since its founding in 1969 by William A. Fickling Jr. Macon was Mr. Fickling's hometown, and his family continues to own substantial real estate assets in the area.
However, Mr. Fickling was ousted as Charter's chairman and chief executive officer last year after the company reorganized under federal bankruptcy laws, and his control was relinquished to bondholders. A seven-member board, controlled by four outside directors, terminated him in March 1993.
Nancy Gore, Charter's investor relations director, said executives have been thinking about moving the company's offices "for quite a while."
Atlanta, which is about 75 miles northwest of Macon, will be a better location for recruiting executives and for travel, Ms. Gore said.
Although about 50 of Charter's top executives will move to Atlanta, 200 Charter corporate employees will remain in Macon, she said.
The company hasn't estimated the cost of the move, executives said.
The recent flooding in Macon was unrelated to the company's decision to move, Ms. Gore said.
Charter is the second psychiatric hospital chain to recently announce a move of its corporate headquarters. Last month, Community Psychiatric Centers, which is based in Laguna Hills, Calif., said it was planning to move its headquarters to Las Vegas in the next 18 months.
In addition, National Medical Enterprises last week said it will move (See story, p. 6). However, it has not specified its future location.