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William Horton has a good attitude. It’s come in handy lately. In the space of one month this fall, Horton resigned from his post as executive vice president and general counsel of Birmingham-based HealthSouth Corporation; turned 44; and testified before the House energy and commerce subcommittee investigating a $2.7 billion accounting fraud allegedly perpetrated by his former employer. Asked a few weeks later about facing a congressional panel, Horton looks on the bright side, saying: “How many people have the chance to do that?” He speaks with the same determinedly positive outlook about his former employer, the nation’s largest provider of outpatient surgery, diagnostic imaging, and rehabilitation services. “I believe that at its core HealthSouth is a great company,” he says. “It provides very high quality services to thousands of patients every day.” Horton, unlike 15 other former HealthSouth executives, faces no charges of wrongdoing. His mid-October appearance before the House subcommittee pointed to failings of the company’s former chairman and chief executive, Richard Scrushy. “It was never easy to discuss bad news with him that would make him unhappy,” said Horton in his testimony. Horton says that he resigned from his position as the head of the company’s 11-lawyer legal department voluntarily. “It was in the best interest of the company to have the opportunity to have a new team,” he says. (In October, HealthSouth appointed Gregory Doody, a partner with Birmingham’s Balch & Bingham, acting corporate counsel and acting secretary.) As for himself, Horton says: “It was time to move on [and] do something else in life.” Horton speaks enthusiastically about his new job, as of counsel at Birmingham’s Haskell Slaughter Young & Rediker. The firm is hardly unfamiliar territory. He practiced there from 1986 to 1994 and was, during his last two years, the head of its health care practice group. “It is,” says Horton, “nice to have a chance for a change of pace.”

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