The new chief executive officer of post-acute care giant Genesis HealthCare is hoping to steer the company onto a steadier path after months of financial uncertainty caused by the pandemic. 

The Kennett Square, PA-based company announced on Tuesday that longtime CEO George V. Hager Jr. retired from that top post, and as company director. Board Chairman Robert “Bob” H. Fish was appointed as the company’s new CEO, effective Tuesday. 

Genesis HealthCare Board
Chairman Robert “Bob” H. Fish

“I am pleased to become Genesis’ Chief Executive Officer and am excited to lead the company as we look to emerge from the pandemic and navigate to recovery,” Fish said in a statement. “I look forward to sharing my vision and direction for the company in the coming months.”

The change comes two months after the company reported it endured $60 million in losses directly related to the coronavirus pandemic during the third quarter — despite receiving $64 million in federal and state aid for the period. Leaders also reported at the time that the company had begun discussions with “select capital partners” to analyze  a number of restructuring alternatives to improve Genesis’ financial outlook.

The pandemic’s adverse effects also have forced the company to raise substantial doubt about its ability to operate in the future.

“We will continue to work diligently to protect our patients, residents and staff, improve the operating performance of the business and pursue opportunities to improve the financial position of the company,” Hager said in November.

Fish, who will also remain as board chair, has been a member of the Genesis Board of Directors since 2013 and its chairman since 2017. He served as CEO of Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc. until its merger with Genesis in 2015. From 2003 to 2007, he served as lead director of Genesis HealthCare Corp.; and from 2002 to 2003, he served as chairman and CEO of Genesis Health Ventures, Inc.

He also previously served as president, CEO and director of Quorum Health Corporation from 2018 to July 2020. He’s also served as president and CEO of St. Joseph Health System — Sonoma County and Valleycare Health System in Northern California.

Hager added that the company is “fortunate to have [Fish] step in as a leader with significant experience both inside and outside of Genesis.” 

“He brings expertise and continuity essential to Genesis as we continue to navigate the impact of COVID-19 and explore avenues to strengthen the company financially,” Hager said. 

Hager added that it’s been an “honor to serve and lead this Company over the last 17 years” and thanked the company’s senior management team, center leaders and caregivers for their dedication and commitment to Genesis, its patients, residents and families.

“The board and I would like to thank [Hager] for 28 years of unwavering leadership and tireless commitment and service to the Company, its employees, patients, residents and families, and to the entire post-acute industry,” Fish said. 

“We are pleased that [Hager] will serve as a senior advisor to me and the Board of Directors, assisting with the transition, ongoing restructuring efforts and continued advocacy for the company and the industry,” he added.