Serious stock slip tied to CEO e-mail

KANSAS CITY, MO: Cerner Corporation's PR and IR teams have been

working furiously to counter a flurry of media, investor and employee


The medical software company's stock fell 22% in March, from a high of

dollars 41.8 to as low as dollars 29.5. The slip is attributed to an

e-mail sent to managers by CEO Neal Patterson blasting their management

skills, which was then posted on Yahoo! On March 23, two days after the

posting, Patterson issued a lengthy apology.

All of this prompted The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times to

run long pieces dissecting the incident. Fortune magazine is also

planning an article, which is hardly surprising given that it has listed

Cerner among the 100 best companies to work for twice in the past three


Meetings have been held with managers to address employee concerns.

David Oboyski, Cerner director of PR, has been working to restore

confidence in the three constituencies. 'We have spoken with our top

analysts to ascertain how they perceive issues around the e-mail,' he

said. He has openly copied both the e-mail and the apology to the media

and has embraced the opportunity to talk about the company. 'There's a

silver lining to everything,' he said.

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