Amedisys Founder William Borne Steps Down as Chief Executive

Feb 24, 2014 4:44 pm ET

(Updates with comments from analyst in fourth paragraph.)

Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Amedisys Inc. founder William Borne stepped down as chief executive officer and chairman of the health-care service provider he started in 1982.

Borne, 56, will be replaced on an interim basis by Chief Financial Officer Ronald LaBorde, 57, as the company seeks a permanent CEO, Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Amedisys said today in a statement. LaBorde has been CFO and president for two years and has served on the company’s board for 17 years.

KKR & Co., Amedisys’s largest shareholder with a 14.9 percent stake according to data compiled by Bloomberg, had asked for Nathaniel Zilkha, a fund manager at KKR, to be nominated immediately to the company’s board, according to a filing earlier this month. Borne’s action may have been a result of KKR’s action, said Sheryl Skolnick, an analyst at Stamford, Connecticut-based CRT Capital Group LLC.

“We think it means that KKR may have been successful in applying pressure to get Bill Borne to leave,” Skolnick wrote today in a note to clients. “But this does not respond to KKR’s request to put one of its own on the board and that may not be enough to satisfy KKR.”

The New York-based buyout firm declined to comment on Borne’s departure, said KKR spokeswoman Kristi Huller.

“KKR and Amedisys’s board and management are in a constructive dialogue about how to achieve our collective goal of long-term shareholder value,” Huller said in an e-mail.

Amedisys provides home health and hospice care for more than 360,000 patients a year, according to the company’s statement. Its shares gained 2.1 percent to close at $16.95 in New York. The company has gained 50 percent in the past 12 months.

--Editors: Bruce Rule, Andrew Pollack