Brookdale Shakes Up Executive Suite to Aid Emeritus Integration

Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD) announced today a change-up at the executive level, which will see the company’s current president and chief financial officer taking on a more active role in operations following the resignation of one chief officer.

Brookdale President and CFO Mark Ohlendorf will transition from his current dual roles to an “enhanced role” as president, and will immediately assume an active role in the company’s operations leadership following the resignation of current Brookdale Chief Operating Officer Gregory Richard, effective September 30, the company announced Monday.

The leadership change arrives as Brookdale nears the one-year anniversary of its merger with Emeritus, as the company has endured in its ongoing efforts to integrate the systems and processes of both business onto a common platform, said Brookdale CEO Andy Smith in a written statement.

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“…[W]e had a natural opportunity to examine our executive leadership team and organizational structure to ensure we have the right people in the right roles going forward,” Smith said. “Through his more than 30 years of executive leadership in the senior housing and health care industry, Mark has developed a unique combination of operational and financial expertise, and we believe these changes will enable us to fully leverage Mark’s expertise as we continue to improve our operational effectiveness and advance our growth.”

In Brookdale’s efforts to find a new CFO and COO, the company has retained executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, which will consider both internal and external candidates, to assist in this process.

Ohlendorf, who has served as Brookdale’s president since June 2013 and CFO since March 2007, will continue to serve in this latter role until a successor is appointed.

“I am excited about the opportunity as Brookdale navigates through this important stage of its development,” Ohlendorf said in a statement. “We have the best people in the business, and I look forward to collaborating with our leadership teams and continuing to redefine our operations and innovation strategies as we position Brookdale for growth and continued value creation.”

Monday’s announcement is the most recent leadership shuffle at Brookdale, which in April appointed new members to its Board of Directors following pressure from shareholders to spin off the company’s real estate into a separate company.

These appointments arrived just one month after Brookdale’s most vocal shareholder, Sandell Asset Management Corp., announced its intention to nominate a slate of candidates to replace three long-standing Brookdale directors.

The appointments filled vacancies created by the retirements of Mark J. Schulte, who previously served as a director since 2008, and Samuel Waxman, who had served on the board since 2005.

It was not disclosed in Monday’s announcement whether the resignation of Gregory Richards was related to retirement.

Richards, who joined the company through the merger of American Retirement Corporation and Brookdale in 2006, has served as COO since 2013 and as executive vice president of field operations prior to that.

“On behalf of the Board and everyone at Brookdale, I want to thank Greg for his leadership and significant contributions to our company over the past 15 years, including his many contributions to our organizational integration efforts,” said Smith. “Greg has been an important member of Brookdale’s team, and we wish him all the best.”

Written by Jason Oliva

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