Orpea has dismissed and replaced its Belgian CEO, Geert Uytterschaut, the private retirement home group announced on Thursday.
“Olivier Van Houtte has been appointed Orpea Belgium CEO to coordinate the necessary adjustments for Belgium. He will start his interviews and analyses today,” the group said in a press release.
On 15 November, Orpea presented a restructuring plan aimed at restoring trust with all stakeholders. “The objective is to put the quality of care at the heart of our activities,” Orpea said.
“To achieve this, the group must regain a sustainable financial structure and restore financial equilibrium,” it added. “The review of the activity in Belgium has revealed an unsatisfactory situation that requires adaptation.”
€9.5 billion in debts
The group also stated that “any conclusion or conjecture regarding the future of the specific residences is premature.” It indicated that the Belgian management team would guarantee “the continuity of care and services on each of its sites, at each stage of this transformation phase.”
The group is listed on the stock exchange and has debts to the sum of €9.5 billion. It has obtained protection from its creditors and has begun negotiations with them to put its finances in order.
Orpea, which owns 350 nursing homes in France and runs about 60 in Belgium, found itself at the heart of a scandal in January after journalist Victor Castanet published his book 'Les Fossoyeurs,' in which he denounced abuses committed at some of the group’s homes.
These included rationing, leaving elderly people in their excrement and depriving them of care for several days.