Dubai: Abu Dhabi’s NMC Healthcare has cut the final link to its founder Dr. B.R. Shetty - by terminating the employment of his wife, Dr. Chandrakumari Shetty, as group medical director. As such, her role was becoming untenable after multiple investigations revealed gross financial misdoings in recent years, when B.R. Shetty was executive and, later, non-executive chairman.
Incidentally, Dr. Chandrakumari was NMC’s first employee since its founding in the mid-1970s. At the time of her termination, she was earning a monthly salary in excess of Dh200,000. She and B.R. shety are currently in India.
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In a statement to Gulf News, Michael Davis, CEO of NMC Health, “Dr. C.R. Shetty previously served as the medical director for NMC Healthcare, but was not involved in the financial dealings of the company. The last salary was paid in February. As of March, she is no longer active in her role.”
‘There were negotiations’
According to a source in the local banking industry, “Given all the changes NMC has brought about in its structure since March, a termination would have happened at the earliest,” said a source in the healthcare industry. “No organisation, especially one placed under administration, can afford to pay Dh200,000 to someone who was not “working” in any capacity all these months.
“There were negotiations going on with Dr. Chandrakumari for her to step down voluntarily. I don’t think those worked. Being the founder’s wife or the first ever employee don’t matter at this point.”
According to Davis, “All the administrative issues surrounding her exit are in process.” The CEO was obviously referring to the gratuity payments and related matters.
A crucial phase
Coming up for NMC will be crucial weeks and months. The hospital operator has an application hearing on Sunday to be placed under administration as per Abu Dhabi Global Market's rules. What will emerge could be stripped down entity built around a portfolio of hospitals and allied assets such as speciality clinics. Banking sources say this declaration could happen immediately.
Divisions such as NMC Trading have already been pared down, with licenses to some key health and skincare brands being divested to other local businesses.
Pursuing the lost billions
Banking sources say more clarity will still be needed on pursuing those who systematically diverted $4 billion in bank loans from NMC – without any of these even showing on the books – to accounts outside of the country. And establishing the level of guilt associated with each of the perpetrators.
“That’s going to be hard work – but it needs doing,” said the banker.