Before Wayne Smith was a top executive at healthcare companies such as Community Health Systems and Humana, he was an Auburn University graduate. The chairman, president and CEO of Community was in Glendale, Ariz., last week for the Auburn Tigers' win in college football's Bowl Championship Series title game over Oregon, a 22-19 thriller that Auburn won with a field goal on the last play.
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The next day, Smith was in San Francisco to make a presentation to investors at a conference run by J.P. Morgan. Smith implied that Auburn's success might offer an omen for Community's efforts to acquire Tenet Healthcare Corp., which has resisted Community's overtures thus far.
“The issue that everyone is interested in: I would just tell you that, last night, I was at the BCS game,” Smith quipped at the top of his presentation. “I'm an Auburn graduate. It was a long, hard fight, but we ultimately prevailed.”
Smith, normally a rapid-fire speaker whose sentences run together, let his words hang in the air for a moment.
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