Almost three months to the day after he was fired as Physician Resource Group's chief executive officer, Emmett Moore is resigning his board seat at the embattled eye-care physician practice management company.
Neither Moore nor PRG gave a reason for his Feb. 18 departure. Moore was "terminated without cause" by the company as board chairman and CEO on Nov. 19. Both moves were a reaction to a third-quarter 1997 earnings report showing an unexpected loss of 62 cents per share, which sent PRG stock crashing. After opening 1997 at $17.13, PRG's stock was priced below $5 at the beginning of 1998 and as of late February was trading between $3.50 and $4.
Despite PRG's financial problems and his being bounced from his executive position, Moore was able to keep his board seat because members can be removed forcibly only when their terms expire, according to PRG rules. Moore's term would have expired in 2000.
Moore's resignation doesn't automatically remove him as a defendant on seven shareholder lawsuits filed in the wake of the third-quarter earnings debacle. It also has no immediate effect on negotiations between PRG and an undetermined number of practices that are looking at either retooling their management agreements or getting some sort of settlement from the company in lieu of filing a lawsuit, say sources close to the negotiations.
Motivating these negotiations, in part, are doctors trying to make up losses suffered when PRG's stock tumbled. Many physicians' shares were worth $20 or more when the doctors sold the assets of their practices to PRG.
Modern Physician submitted a written list of questions to senior vice president and company spokesman Jonathan Bond relating to PRG's finances; its troubled relationship with doctors, some of whom are threatening to stop paying management fees to PRG; its plans for turning around the company's finances; and its response to the shareholder lawsuits. Bond, in a telephone follow-up, said he could not comment on those questions.