American Addiction Centers Taps Former Gateway Foundation Executive as New CEO

Multi-state treatment provider American Addiction Centers Holdings (AAC) has named Dr. Tom Britton as its new CEO.

Britton comes to AAC from the Chicago-based Gateway Foundation. Britton had been president and CEO of Gateway – one of the largest non-profit addiction treatment providers in the nation – since 2015.

“I am both humbled and excited to join an organization like American Addiction Centers that has been on the front line, saving lives every day,” Britton said in a press release issued by the company. “There has never been a time when innovation and quality were more important in the field of addiction medicine than now.”


Britton succeeds Andrew McWilliams, who has been with AAC since 2014 and has served as its CEO since 2020. Prior to being appointed CEO, he served as AAC’s chief financial officer.

“It has been a tremendous honor to lead AAC in its mission to provide life-saving treatment to individuals struggling with addiction,” McWilliams said in the press release. “I am very proud of what the AAC team has accomplished.”

Headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, AAC provides inpatient and outpatient treatment services in eight states for substance and alcohol use disorders. AAC offers detox and rehab assistance along with a variety of therapies such as medication-assisted treatment.


AAC operates locations in California, Florida, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas and Rhode Island. The provider accepts a number of commercial insurances as well as Medicare and Medicaid.

A behavioral health care veteran for over 30 years, Britton is also in long-term recovery.

“Dr. Britton has the passion, skills, and industry leadership to build upon AAC’s commitment to clinical excellence as the nation’s leading addiction treatment provider,” AAC Chairman Bowen Diehl said in the press release.

Britton is taking over AAC a few years after a tumultuous period for the provider with its business and management operations.

In 2019, AAC president and chief operating officer Michael Nanko resigned from his post along with four board members amidst the provider’s financial struggles. AAC that year would also sue the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) over allegations that it had coordinated with Google to restrict advertising access to the provider’s services on the search engine. NAATP would dispute the claims and the lawsuit was dismissed late last year by a federal district judge in Nashville.

AAC’s woes in 2019 would also be multiplied as it was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) after it failed to maintain a required market capitalization value of at least $15 million over a 30-day trading period. At its height, AAC – which in 2014 became the first addiction treatment provider to trade on the NYSE – commanded a publicly traded valuation of $1 billion.

McWilliams would help guide AAC through a financial restructuring in 2020 after filing for bankruptcy earlier that year. At the time of the filing, AAC was $517.3 million in debt.

McWilliams spoke about the restructuring process in late 2020 to Behavioral Health Business, where he also discussed growth goals he had for AAC in areas such as bed expansions, payor relationships and telehealth.

“We didn’t furlough any employees,” McWilliams said at the time to BHB. “We didn’t close any facilities. We really grew during this period in our ability to outreach to more patients, and a lot of our metrics really improved during this process, in the midst of everything else.”

McWilliams will remain with AAC to aid in the transition of Britton to the CEO post.

“[Britton] is poised to take the company into a new, innovative chapter with the tailwinds of excellent financial performance and a strong financial foundation that has been built over the past two years under the tremendous leadership of exiting CEO Andrew McWilliams,” Diehl added in the press release.

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