Former CEO Bill Sheriff Re-Joins Brookdale as Consultant

Bill Sheriff, a pioneer in the senior living industry and former CEO of Brookdale Senior Living, is re-joining the Brentwood, Tennessee-based provider as a consultant.

“I am pleased to again work with the talented and committed people of Brookdale – from the front-line associates to senior management – who are selflessly dedicated to enriching lives every day,” Sheriff said in a press release issued by Brookdale on Wednesday.

Sheriff is coming on board as a consultant at the invitation of Cindy Baier, who took the reins as Brookdale’s CEO in February. His main focus will be on supporting the company’s performance improvement efforts, primarily working with operators, sales and marketing, Baier told Senior Housing News.

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The nation’s largest senior living operator, Brookdale operates about 1,000 communities across the country. It gained this massive scale after a 2014 merger with rival Emeritus Corp., but then struggled in its integration efforts. More recently, new competition and tight labor markets have added further challenges, and the company’s share price has declined from nearly $38 in May 2015 to $6.64 as of market close on Wednesday.

The company was exploring strategic alternatives throughout 2017, with takeout chatter focused largely on potential private equity buyers. Brookdale formally ended that process in February, at which point Baier became CEO. She took over from Andy Smith, who had become the chief executive in 2013 when Sheriff retired.

Prior to his tenure with Brookdale, Sheriff had helped create the for-profit, private-pay senior living business model, leading a company called American Retirement Corporation (ARC). It merged with Brookdale in 2006, and Sheriff became co-CEO. He became the sole CEO in 2008.

Enlisting Sheriff’s help hearkens back to this earlier, more successful period for Brookdale.

“His familiar presence and knowledge of what has worked at Brookdale and in senior living historically will help support our strategic pivot of returning to what made Brookdale successful,” Baier said in the Wednesday press release. “Our plan is for Brookdale to return to our strong foundation where we will differentiate ourselves based on caring associates who create passionate advocates and generate referrals.”

“Passion” is a word that others have also associated with Sheriff.

“He brought such a passion to what he did,” John Rijos, former president of Brookdale, told Senior Housing News in a 2016 Leadership Series interview.

Written by Tim Mullaney

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