Emily R. McComb - Faculty & Research - Harvard Business School

Emily R. McComb

Senior Lecturer of Business Administration


Emily McComb is a Senior Lecturer in the Finance Unit at HBS, currently teaching the course "Finance 2" in the second semester of the required curriculum. Prior to joining the HBS faculty in 2017, Emily was a Managing Director at Bain Capital, where she was sector head of the Healthcare team at the firm's public equity division. Prior to joining Bain Capital, Emily was an analyst and a member of the Small Cap team at Fidelity Management and Research, focused largely on Healthcare, Industrial and Consumer companies. A Canadian native, she earned a BA with Great Distinction from McGill University in Economics and Political Science, and an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School. Emily lives in Boston with her husband and two children.
Cases and Teaching Materials
  1. Capital Allocation at HCA

    W. Carl Kester and Emily R. McComb

    In early 2017, HCA Holdings, an investor-owned hospital management company, faced a strategically important capital allocation decision. After the exit of its private equity sponsors in 2016, HCA had to determine how best to allocate its substantial annual free cash flows among several competing alternatives. Equity analysts and some mutual fund investors were clamoring for the company to initiate regular quarterly dividends, while some other hedge fund investors were eager to see more share repurchases. Other choices being advocated by various parties included reducing leverage to improve HCA's credit rating to investment grade, spurring growth by initiating a major acquisition program or reinvesting heavily in existing markets to enhance HCA's strong competitive position. These choices had to be made in the face of uncertainty about the future of healthcare regulation and tax policy following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and in the context of its closest publicly traded peers struggling with heavy debt burdens. HCA's capital allocation choices would be crucial to its ability to provide high quality health care to patients, implement its corporate strategy and deliver value to shareholders.

    Keywords: capital allocation; cash distribution policy; dividends; Share Repurchases; growth strategy and execution; growth investing; Capital expenditures; debt management; Debt reduction; debt policy; hospital management; investor-owned hospital chains; Capital Budgeting; Capital Structure; Cash Flow; Corporate Finance; Decision Choices and Conditions; Health Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Kester, W. Carl, and Emily R. McComb. "Capital Allocation at HCA." Harvard Business School Case 218-039, January 2018.  View Details