Memo: Caromont Health parts ways with CEO after "issues expressed"

Published: Apr. 16, 2013 at 2:56 PM EDT|Updated: May. 16, 2013 at 2:56 PM EDT
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GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Nearly two weeks after Caromont Health made headlines for its new slogan of "Cheat Death," the hospital's board has announced a parting of ways with the company's president and CEO.

In a memo to employees, obtained by WBTV, Caromont Health say the Board of Directors met with Randy Kelley on Monday evening.

The group discussed the "recent comments and issues expressed by our community, medical staff, and workforce," according to the memo. "As a result of that meeting, Randy and the Board have agreed that separation is in the best interests of Caromont Health."

Nearly two weeks ago, Caromont - which was previously know as Gaston Memorial Hospital - announced its name change, along with a new slogan of "Cheat Death."

Kelley cited market research that found a negative perception of the Gaston Memorial name, which has been used since 1946. Also, many residents failed to make a connection between Caromont and Gaston Memorial, he said.

At the heart of the rebranding is the "Cheat Death" tag line. The goal is to help educate and motivate people to eat better and exercise more, Kelley said.

The hospital faced criticism from the community and some employees for the slogan change.

The memo does not specifically outline the reason for the decision to part ways with Kelley.

"Additionally, after much discussion with legal counsel, it was determined that Mr. H. Spurgeon Mackie, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Mr. David Allen Smith, member of Board of Directors, have satisfied the company's policies and bylaws regarding conflicts of interest and no action is required based on their connections with Immortology, a Chapel Hill-based marketing firm," a release from Tuesday morning stated.

"Both will continue their service on The Board of Directors of CaroMont Health," the statement continued. "Additionally, the Board discussed the terms of the contract with Immortology and found that the contract was fair and reasonable."

"With these actions, the Board will enter a period of reflection to evaluate the current environment, improve communications and repair relationships," stated Mackie. "This was a difficult decision; however, the Board is confident we can move forward in a positive and
constructive manner."

Doug Luckett has been appointed Interim CEO.

"We appreciate the hard work and dedication of all the members of our workforce during this difficult time of transition," the memo to employees stated. "We will continue to keep you informed as further decisions are made."

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