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Former Apella Health Board of Trustees Chair receives Order of the Palmetto

South Carolina’s highest civilian honor presented to Robert E. Gregory Jr.

Spartanburg, S.C. (October 13, 2022) – S.C. Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette presented Robert E. Gregory Jr. with the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor, on Sept. 21 on behalf of Gov. Henry McMaster.

"Rob Gregory’s lifetime of service to his community and his home state is easily deserving of his receiving the Order of the Palmetto,” Gov. McMaster said. “His impact on the Spartanburg community and the state as a whole will undoubtedly leave a lasting legacy and continue to benefit the people of our great state.”

Nationally known as a leading business strategist, Gregory spent the past decade guiding Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System through the most transformative period in its 100-year history.

Starting in 2011, Gregory served as the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System Board of Trustees Chair for six years before transitioning to Chair the newly formed Apella Health Management Board of Trustees.

In 2016, Gregory led the effort to form Apella Health Management, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit management company that provides oversight to Spartanburg Regional. This updated governance structure improved the healthcare system’s ability to partner with other community hospitals. As a result, Spartanburg Regional continues to be ranked as one of the top-performing quality of care systems in South Carolina. 

Gregory also helped expand the healthcare system’s physical footprint. Under Gregory’s leadership, significant investments were made in Pelham Medical Center and Gibbs Cancer Center at Pelham, and the system acquired Union Medical Center, Ellen Sager Nursing Center, Woodruff Manor, Cherokee Medical Center and Spartanburg Medical Center – Mary Black Campus.

“Rob Gregory has remained steadfast in the face of major changes to our healthcare system and has been a constant driving force for our success,” Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System CEO Bruce Holstien said. “We are grateful for the contributions Rob has made to our system and our community. His impact as a leader and philanthropist will be evident for generations to come.” 

Gregory is a Greenville High School and Wofford College graduate. He served as a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps before graduating from the University of South Carolina School of Law. 

Gregory served as Legal Assistant to the Chief Justice of South Carolina and then as Group Vice President and General Counsel of Spartan Mills. He then served as President of the Lee Company and later as President of VF Corporation, the largest apparel company in the world. 

In 1992, he established his own turnaround firm and restructured over a dozen companies, including Gitano and London Fog Corp. Gregory then served as the operating partner for 10 years with two multibillion-dollar private equity firms. During his career, he served on the corporate boards of nearly 20 companies, including major public companies and a number of NYSE companies, United Missouri Bank, Promus Hotels, VF Corp., London Fog Corp., USF&G, Gitano Inc., Frisbee International and Globe Manufacturing. 

Gregory has also devoted himself to philanthropic work through religious and charitable foundations. He has also served as Chair of the Board of Wofford College, Spartanburg County Foundation and Spartanburg Regional Foundation.