Jonathan Bush, Athenahealth (NASDAQ: ATHN) CEO and director, has stepped down from both positions, effective immediately, after misconduct allegations of him surfaced, including domestic abuse of his wife 13 years ago, and sexual harassment of a female employee. The Athenahealth Board has begun a search process in search of qualified CEO candidates.
Athenahealth, a healthcare technology company, has stated that as part of a process to explore strategic alternatives, the Board will consider a sale, merger, or remaining an independent company. In May, Elliott Management, which as han 8.9 percent stake in Athenahealth, has offered to buy the company for $160 per share in cash, valuing the company at an estimated $6.9 billion.
Its shares initially rose as much as 8 percent in early trading, at $163.94 a share.
"We have long believed that athenahealth is a great company, and we look forward to participating as a bidder in the company's strategic exploration process," the firm said in a statement.
In order to ensure a smooth transition as the company conducts a strategic review, a press release from Athenahealth stated that Former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt has been appointed Executive Chairman, Marc Levin, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Officer, will assume greater day-to-day operational responsibilities and oversight, and current Board member Amy Abernethy will be advising the Executive Leadership Team on data strategy.
“We approach this process with an open mind and a commitment to continuing to strengthen the company - including its rich data asset, platform strategy, and culture of innovation. We are fully focused on serving the best interests of our shareholders, employees and clients." says Immelt, adding, "On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Jonathan for guiding athenahealth to this point and for building an incredible team, which is deeply focused on our clients and on driving disruptive, positive change across the healthcare industry. The Board and Jonathan agree that
this change in leadership is appropriate as Athenahealth turns to its next chapter."
The company is amidst talks with third parties regarding potential deals and the board has initiated a search process for a replacement for Bush.