Golden Living is expected to publicly announce Thursday (Mar. 10) that the company will locate its corporate headquarters operation in Plano, Texas, but keep 500 —possibly more — employees at the company’s large office building in Fort Smith.
The move will effectively end an almost 21-year history of the nursing home company being based in Fort Smith.
The healthcare services company, which has more than 40,000 employees and provides nursing, rehab, hospice and other senior-care services, is owned by San Francisco-based Fillmore Capital Partners.
According to several sources, many employees were told Wednesday (Mar. 9) of a reorganization plan that will place the company’s senior management team and support staff — between 150-200 jobs — in Plano (near Dallas). The move will leave about 500 workers at the 5-story, 318,000-square foot office complex in Fort Smith to function as administrative support for the company.
Why the change?
The sources told The City Wire they are unsure how Golden Living will explain the move, but their separate remarks found three common answers.
• Inability to recruit top talent to Fort Smith
Most of the top execs do not now live in the Fort Smith area because they would only agree to work for the company if they could live and work elsewhere. The consensus among the sources is that Plano (Dallas) was acceptable as a location to bring the top execs and support staff together.
• Airport access
Flying out of Dallas-Fort Worth provides Golden Living more convenient access to its facilities nationwide.
“Out of DFW, we can take a direct flight to almost any city. In Fort Smith, you go to Dallas or Memphis and then go to where you’re traveling. That’s a time killer for us,” one source noted.
• Position to sell
Equity firms like Fillmore typically don’t buy companies to keep them — they are bought, improved and then, ideally, sold for a handsome profit.
“Fort Smith has advantages ... but there are many reasons why a company with a national footprint is more attractive if it’s being sold out of a Dallas compared to a Fort Smith,” said a source.
Paul Harvel, president and CEO of the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce, said he will let Golden Living speak to details of any changes, but does not believe consolidating the executive management in Dallas will result in “a large migration out of Fort Smith.” He also does not see it as hurting the Fort Smith region’s prestige.
“From a corporate standpoint and from a jobs standpoint, I don’t think we will be hurt in those areas,” Harvel said Wednesday night. “I think a few weeks down the road and you might see some positives with this.”
However, a source close to the changes expressed concern it could be the beginning of the end.
“In terms of the future planning of the company, this is taking the power out of Fort Smith,” the source said.
The Fort Smith building, completed in the late 1990s as the new corporate headquarters for Beverly Enterprises, sits on a 60-acre campus. Beverly Enterprises moved in May 1990 its corporate headquarters from Pasadena, Calif., to Fort Smith. The first building Beverly occupied in Fort Smith was part of the strip mall in the rear of Central Mall.
In 2005-2006, Fillmore Capital purchased Beverly as a friendly bidder in what began as a hostile takeover play by Alpharetta, Ga.-based Formation Capital. The deal was valued at $2.2 billion, with about $1.8 billion going to shareholders.
On July 1, 2009, the company announced it had sold all of its nursing homes in Arkansas.
Beverly Enterprises moved in May 1990 its corporate headquarters from Pasadena, Calif., to Fort Smith. The first building Beverly occupied in Fort Smith was part of the strip mall in the rear of Central Mall.