Opinions differ over why Carter left Apria

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

ORLANDO, Fla. — There seems to be some disagreement over what prompted Phil Carter to resign his post as Apria’s CEO in Feb. 2002.

At the time, Apria issued a press release stating Carter decided to leave the company after leading a “highly successful turnaround strategy.” But last October, BusinessWeek wrote that “Within 24 hours of learning that the wife of CEO Philip L. Carter had been hired for a company job, an infuriated board in February accepted his resignation and rescinded her offer of employment.”

In its October issue, BusinessWeek ran a special report highlighting the best boards in corporate American. The list included Apria’s board.

Carter, who now serves as Rotech’s president and CEO, did not return phone calls for this story. However, in the BusinessWeek story, Carter maintained that the Apria turnaround he was hired to orchestrate was complete and that he left the company voluntarily.

Until the incident involving his wife, Carter’s performance at Apria had been universally lauded, BusinessWeek wrote.

“It just destroyed our whole trust in him,” Apria board member Richard H. Koppes told Business-Week. “We couldn’t believe what he had done.”

Apria Board Chairman Ralph Whitworth did not return phone calls for this article. HME