Eric Haskell, currently board’s lead independent director, will assume duties of chairman

Metropolitan said that Michael Earley, chairman of the board and CEO, has revealed his plans to step down. The company will initiate a search for his successor.

Earley has agreed to serve as CEO until March 31, 2010 or until his successor is engaged, and will remain a member of the board of directors. Eric Haskell, currently the board’s lead independent director, will assume the duties of chairman.

Earley said: “We have exceptional financial management and operational expertise throughout the organization and, in conjunction with the board, I am confident that we will select a CEO who will continue advancing our strong position as a leading healthcare services network in the state of Florida and beyond. With our financial house in very good order, and as we close out what we expect to be a record year on many fronts, the timing is appropriate to begin this process.”

Mr Haskell said: “Mike joined the company in 2003 when it was facing a multitude of significant financial and operational issues. Under his leadership the company experienced a dramatic turnaround and has since prospered and grown. He has been instrumental in establishing a strong platform that will allow the company to execute new growth strategies and his experience, perspective, and business acumen will greatly benefit the company as we initiate our search and complete this transition.”