Richard Chandler heads his own management consulting firm, R. H. Chandler Company, specializing in business strategy, organizational development and new ventures. He also serves as an adjunct professor at University of California, Irvine’s Merage School of Business and the University of Montana’s School of Business Administration.
Chandler’s 35 year career in management began with functional experience in marketing, finance, and business development with Fortune 500 companies, followed by 28 years in general management positions. For his last 23 years in corporate management, he was a CEO of three growth companies in the healthcare services, medical device manufacturing and assistive technology fields, respectively. One of these was a leveraged buy-out, the other two start-ups which Chandler founded. All three companies were funded with venture capital investments and earned a profit for their investors.
Most recently, he formed Freedom Scientific in early 2000 by raising $65 million in venture capital and debt financing and acquiring three assistive technology companies. He served as Freedom’s CEO for three years and on its board of directors for seven years. Freedom develops, manufactures and markets specialized software (screen reading, magnification) and hardware products (PDAs, Braille printers, etc.) for people who are blind or have learning disabilities. The company was sold to a private equity group in 2007.
From 1983 to 1999, Chandler served as chairman and CEO of Sunrise Medical, which he founded with venture backing in early 1983 and took public later that year. Sunrise grew to become one of the world’s leading manufacturers of rehabilitation and home care products, with sales of $700 million and a NYSE listing. Sunrise sold its products in over one hundred countries, had operations in 22 countries, and generated 46% of revenues outside the U.S.
Chandler was CEO of Abbey Medical, a nationwide retail supplier of rehabilitation and home health care products, from 1979 to 1982. He and co-investors acquired Abbey from Sara Lee Corporation in July, 1979 and sold it to American Hospital Supply Corporation (later Baxter International) two years later. Abbey subsequently became part of Apria, Inc. (NYSE)
From 1974 to 1979, Chandler held various executive positions at Sara Lee, including vice president of corporate development and planning, president of the Abbey Medical/Abbey Rents division, and group vice president of diversified products, responsible for eight divisions and five thousand employees. In 1972-74, he was an officer and director of the Harvey Group, overseeing its retail division of 18 consumer electronics stores in the New York area. He began his career in 1967 with Bell and Howell Company in Chicago, where he moved through a variety of management positions including vice president of marketing of DeVry Inc., its education subsidiary, and general manager of its Polaroid Manufacturing Division.
Chandler has played an active role with outside organizations. In 1971, he was founder and vice chairman of Chicago Community Ventures, an SBIC investment company devoted to minority-owned enterprises that was funded by 17 major Chicago corporations. In 1972, he was selected as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of Chicago. Chandler was recognized as San Diego’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 1995 and the following year received the Diogenes Award from the Public Relations Society of America (San Diego Chapter) for exemplary investor communications by a public company CEO. He is a former member of the American Business Conference, Young Presidents’ Organization and World Presidents’ Organization.
Chandler earned his B.A. degree magna cum laude from Princeton University in 1964, an MBA with honors from the University of Chicago in 1966, and a Masters in International Economics with distinction from the University of Louvain (Belgium) in 1967. He resides in Rancho Santa Fe, California with his wife, Linda Boerner Chandler. They have three adult daughters.