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HealthSouth Corporation is replacing five longtime directors who were on the board when the company became entangled in a huge accounting fraud.

The changes will be made beginning this month under an agreement to settle a lawsuit filed by the teachers pension system in Louisiana, a major HealthSouth investor.

A lawyer for the Louisiana group said the goal was to remove the directors who presided over HealthSouth's plunge into scandal.

Departing directors include Larry D. Striplin Junior, Charles W. Newhall the Third, C. Sage Givens, George H. Strong and John S. Chamberlin. All have been members since at least 1999 and all five will be off the board by Aug. 31.

Interim chairman Joel C. Gordon will remain along with three directors who joined the board after the company's finances began unraveling: interim CEO Robert P. May, Jon F. Hanson and Lee S. Hillman.

Fired chief executive Richard Scrushy, who was indicted in November, has refused the board's call to resign and remains a director in name only.

In a statement, HealthSouth said a search for four new directors will begin immediately. The board also will be reduced from 10 people to nine.

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