The continuing drama at Florida-based primary care provider Cano Health focuses on the board and CEO. The three board members who resigned in late March [TTA 7 April]–Barry Sternlicht, Elliot Cooperstone, and Lewis Gold (who we’ll dub the Cano 3)–are now demanding that the company board reopen the window for director nominations at the 2023 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. In a letter/press release targeted to fellow shareholders released on Monday, the group cited “drastically changed circumstances”, exclusion of the three from decision-making prior to their resignation, and “the emergence and disclosure of additional self-dealing and concerning related-party transactions that were not previously disclosed – have cast serious doubt on the credibility and fitness of the current Board and CEO Marlow Hernandez.” The letter/release also focuses on the company’s negative (-83%!) performance over the past year. The three own 36% of the common stock of Cano Health, which means they have a very loud voice.
Cano management responded on Monday with a very long letter/press release of its own rebutting the “destructive actions” of the Cano 3 with a lengthy but somewhat anodyne six-point action plan to move the company toward profitability, improve performance, and increase liquidity. Point 6 was quite the kicker: appointing a non-executive chairman of the board, Solomon (Sol) Trujillo. This separated the chairman and CEO roles, with the highly controversial founder Dr. Marlow Hernandez remaining as CEO. Not addressed were the issues around Dr. Hernandez. He has been accused of self-dealing in two instances: $23 million to the CEO’s father for general contracting work, and $8.5 million to a dental care company owned by Mrs. Hernandez. Earlier coverage included dubious transactions with Miami medical claims recovery company MSP Recovery (also known as LifeWallet).
What’s interesting about this is that it may turn into a battle royal between two major figures: chairman Sol Trujillo against Barry Sternlicht. Mr. Trujillo is highly experienced in board/CEO roles in high-stress turnaround situations, such as at Orange SA and most recently Australia’s Telstra Communications. Mr. Sternlicht is well known as the CEO of Starwood Hotels and is a major real estate and private investor.
Cano Health was founded in 2009 and went public via a SPAC in 2021. It lost $426 million in 2022. The shareholder meeting date hasn’t been released yet, but in 2022 it was in May. Stay tuned. Healthcare Dive, MarketWatch
Memora Health raises $30 million. This venture round was led by General Catalyst and joined by several health systems including Northwell plus existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Transformation Capital, and Frist Cressey Ventures. Memora has AI-based technology for complex care management and digitizes clinical and administrative workflows. FierceHealthcare, Crunchbase
Teladoc to premier weight management program using GLP-1 agonist drugs. This will be part of their physician-based care product for employers, and will target patients needing additional assistance in weight loss and diabetes prevention. The program provides access to a Teladoc-employed doctor for a personalized care plan, along with daily coaching with digital tools. Debut is projected during Q3. GLP-1 drugs such as the widely advertised (in US) Ozempic injectable were originally designed for diabetes management but have found a different market in weight loss. Companies such as Calibrate, Ro, and Sequence (acquired recently by Weight Watchers) are competitors. Healthcare Dive