BLOOMINGTON — Chestnut Health Systems has sold its domestic and international employee assistance division to a Canadian-based employee assistance program provider, but no Chestnut employees will lose their jobs as a result of the transaction.

"Everyone will continue to do the work they do now...and work with the same clients," Chestnut CEO Russ Hagen told The Pantagraph on Friday.

Bloomington-based Chestnut announced that it has sold, effective Friday, Chestnut Global Partners to Toronto-based Morneau Shepell, a human resources consulting company that is among the world's larger providers of employee assistance programs (EAPs).

Sale terms were not disclosed.

Chestnut has 700 employees, including 256 in Bloomington-Normal. Twenty-six of those employees work in the Global Partners division, with most of them in Bloomington, Hagen said.

Twenty-one of the 26 will become employees of Morneau Shepell and five will remain with Chestnut, but will be "leased back" to Morneau Shepell, Hagen said.

Hagen, who announced in November his retirement as CEO effective Jan. 7, will remain with Chestnut part time to assist with the integration of Global Partners into Morneau Shepell.

EAP services include counseling and referrals for employees with personal or work-related problems, including office conflicts, family crises and alcohol and substance abuse.

Chestnut began its employee assistance division in the 1980s and provides services to 370 client-companies, including Caterpillar Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland, in 160 countries.

But Chestnut Health Systems, as a not-for-profit, was challenged as it considered enhancements to Global Partners, Hagen said.

For example, "we were looking at investing in a more robust digital platform to track service utilization and progress in treatment by clients," Hagen said. "Now, rather than Chestnut Global Partners acquiring a platform, Morneau Shepell has one."

Morneau Shepell has more than 4,000 North American employees and serves about 20,000 clients with EAPs and retirement and benefit plans.

"Chestnut Global Partners offers particular expertise in addiction treatment, mental health services and credit counseling and is recognized in the employee assistance industry as a leader in research," Rita Fridella, executive vice president and general manager for Morneau Shepell's employee support solutions, said in a prepared statement. 

The acquisition was the second announcement Friday involving a Canadian firm in McLean County. Brandt Group of Companies, an agricultural manufacturer, officially announced it is buying the Kongskilde plant near Hudson.

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Follow Paul Swiech on Twitter: @pg_swiech



Health Editor

Health Editor for The Pantagraph.

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