Orpea, whose “brand was very damaged”, changes its name two years after the scandal

No more Orpea, here comes Emeis

Orpea, whose “brand was very damaged”, changes its name two years after the scandal

No more Orpea, here comes Emeis. The large private group of nursing homes and clinics adopted a new name on Wednesday March 20 to “mark a new stage in its refoundation”, two years after the scandal arising from revelations about the practices of its former management.

“The Orpea brand was very damaged, it had become synonymous with scandals, it was important to change its name,” Laurent Guillot, managing director of the group of retirement homes and private clinics, told Agence France-Presse. employs 76,000 people worldwide, including 28,000 in France.

This juggernaut was shaken by the publication in January 2022 of the investigative book by journalist Victor Castanet, Les Fossoyeurs, which denounced mistreatment of residents, misuse of public funds and failings in the management of its staff. Since then, the group and former leaders have been the subject of legal proceedings.

Heavily indebted, the group was saved from bankruptcy by the Caisse des Dépôts, the financial arm of the State, which, with a consortium, took control of it in December 2023.

Over the course of the restructuring, which resulted in significant dilution for shareholders, Orpea shares, which were trading above 80 euros in January 2022, are now worth only one cent today.

Unique brand

New shareholders, new governance, and now a new name and a new logo: hands, symbolizing the care professions, surrounding the name Emeis written in small letters.

“Emeis – which means “we” in ancient Greek – well represents the overhaul project that we launched in November 2022: a collective project with our 76,000 employees, with our patients, our residents and all healthcare stakeholders. », describes Laurent Guillot.

Emeis becomes a unique brand for nursing homes but also psychiatric and follow-up care clinics which belonged to its subsidiary Clinea. The group thus wants to position itself as an actor who “takes care of vulnerable people”, at different stages of life, with bridges between its establishments acting in mental, physical health or old age.

But the establishments – a thousand worldwide including 358 in France – will keep the name by which they are known locally (for example Les Citronniers, in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, or Les Rives-Saint-Nicolas, in Caen).

The group assures that it has no problem with attractiveness, despite the scandal. In terms of human resources, emphasis was placed on recruitment, improvement of remuneration and working conditions, with a 20% reduction in the number of work accidents, generally high in the sector, said Mr. Guillot during a press conference in Paris.

The group reestablished social dialogue and signed an agreement with the unions in the summer of 2023 providing for measures in favor of employees, a first in fifteen years.

This name change also wants to “restore [his] pride” to the staff, affected by the scandal just after the “extremely difficult years of Covid”, according to the manager, who arrived at the head of the group in July 2022 after a career in Saint- Gobain.

In this sector in crisis, the other large private nursing home group, Korian, also announced a change of name, in April 2023, to become Clariane. It also had to undergo a rescue plan due to its high debt.