In one more revolution in homecare, Aveanna pronounces a CEO change

Aveanna Healthcare Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: AVAH) announced that Tony Strange, its CEO and director, will retire at the end of December.

Jeff Shaner – the company’s current COO – will also become CEO and director by the end of December. Shaner has served as Aveanna’s COO since its inception in 2017. The company initially applied for an IPO in April 2021.

“Tony’s leadership has been a significant part of the formation and growth of Aveanna since its inception five years ago,” Rod Windley, chairman of Aveanna, said in a statement. “He leaves a lasting legacy of building one of the nation’s largest home care companies in America during an unprecedented pandemic. Tony’s steady and stable leadership has been a welcome gift at a turbulent time in our industry. It has been an honor to work alongside Tony at Aveanna and the many other companies throughout our careers together.”

Atlanta-based Aveanna provides home health care, hospice and a range of pediatric services to both seniors and children in 33 states.

In fact, Strange and Windley are longtime industry veterans and have worked together for years. Prior to Aveanna, the two helped co-manage The Healthfield Group Inc. and Gentiva Health Services, the latter being the predecessor of Kindred at Home.

Both had big ambitions for Aveanna after it entered the public market. The company transitioned from a primarily pediatric home health care provider to one that aimed to also scale a senior-based home health care model.

“We will continue to do what we have always done — and that is to build a very successful home care business, one that is diversified and different from our competitors,” Windley told HHCN at the time, referring to him and strange . “And one that will be here for years to come. We don’t aim to be a $2 billion company. Our appetite for growth is much, much greater than that and we believe there is still much to do in the future.”

Since that time, however, it must be said that Aveanna has had problems. Aside from a few notable homecare acquisitions, the company has struggled over the past year and a half to navigate what has been a very difficult operating environment for homecare providers.

With these struggles, the stock has consistently trended lower.

But the company has a large footprint, improving hiring trends, and a beneficial and diverse payer mix on its side.

There’s reason to believe that Shaner – who has also dated Strange and Windley on previous stations – can change things in 2023 and beyond.

“The Management Board and I are convinced of that [Shaner’s] Leadership will continue Aveanna’s transition into a new era of value-based care,” said Windley. “Jeff’s experience, passion and innovative mindset will serve Aveanna well as we look to the future.”

Several major players in home health care have recently experienced leadership changes.

Amedisys Inc. (Nasdaq: AMED) handed the keys back to its former CEO, Paul Kusserow. Pennant Group (Nasdaq: PNTG) is now led by Brent Guerisoli after Danny Walker stepped down from his top spot in June.

“I look forward to this new leadership role as CEO and to continuing to build on our rock-solid commitment to clinical excellence and value creation here at Aveanna,” Shaner said in a statement. “Aveanna will continue its mission of positively impacting the lives of the patients and families we serve every day.”

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