* Gary Newsome to lead Mormon mission in Uruguay
* Company says search under way for his replacement
May 28 (Reuters) - Hospital operator Health Management Associates Inc said on Tuesday its Chief Executive Gary Newsome would retire effective July 31, and its board of directors has begun a search for his replacement.
Upon retiring from HMA, Newsome will lead a mission in Uruguay for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the company said in a statement.
Newsome will retire from his posts as CEO, president and board director. A group of four directors will lead the search for a new CEO.
The announcement of Newsome’s retirement follows HMA’s disclosure on Friday that it had adopted a shareholder rights plan, commonly referred to as a poison pill, in response to investor Glenview Capital Management’s notice that it could increase its stake in the company.
Earlier on Tuesday, Glenview Capital Management said it had accumulated a 14.6 percent stake in HMA but had no intention of buying 75 percent of the company’s stock despite regulatory filings it made seeking authorization for higher ownership thresholds.
Last month, HMA said it had received a subpoena in April from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission seeking documents as part of an investigation into billing and accounting for Medicare, Medicaid, privately insured and uninsured patients.
The company was the subject of a “60 Minutes” television news story in December that described aggressive patient admissions policies allegedly pursued at the company’s U.S. hospitals. HMA has denied the allegations.
In April, HMA cut its 2013 earnings outlook, citing weak patient admissions, which sent its shares tumbling.
Shares of HMA closed up 6.88 percent at $11.80 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.