A year of big changes is not ending quietly at Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD). Chief People Officer and Executive Vice President Cedric Coco will be stepping down and separating from the company, effective Dec. 31. Chief Information Officer Andrew Laudato and Chief Growth Officer and Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Ryan Wilson are also making their exits.
Coco first joined Brookdale in Oct. 2016, and his departure was announced Tuesday via an SEC filing. Brookdale did not provide a reason for Coco’s exit, but characterized it as “without cause” in the filing. Last March, Brookdale directors approved a retention bonus of $350,000 to Coco, to be paid out if he remained continuously employed through Dec. 13, 2018.
Laudato and Wilson are leaving in the near future to pursue separate opportunities outside of senior living, a Brookdale spokesperson told Senior Housing News, adding that the company is thankful to them and Coco for their contributions and wishes them well in their future endeavors.
Prior to taking the position with Brookdale, Coco was a vice president of human resources for home improvement retail giant Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW). He was one of several industry outsiders hired for executive positions during Brookdale’s rocky integration with Emeritus Corp., acquired in a 2015 mega-merger. Wilson was another — he joined Brookdale in January 2017, having been with Henkel Consumer Goods and Johnson & Johnson prior to that.
Brookdale also tapped former Walmart exec Labeed Diab to be COO, and brought on former Navigant Consulting exec Cindy Baier to be CFO. Diab resigned in Oct. 2017, but Baier is still very much present at the company’s Brentwood, Tennessee headquarters. She was elevated to CEO in early 2018.
This latest C-suite shakeup comes as Brookdale appears to be making progress on an operational turnaround, led by Baier. The company’s portfolio restructuring effort has reached the late innings, following dispositions and renegotiated leases with real estate investment trust (REIT) landlords, Baier said in announcing Q3 2018 earnings.
“Right from the beginning, we expected 2018 to be a transitional year. In a short period of time, Brookdale has made significant business and operational improvements,” Brookdale’s spokesperson told SHN. “We are executing our turnaround strategy to drive operational improvements and to position Brookdale for long-term success. As a company moves through the stages of a turnaround, change is expected. Brookdale continues to evolve to better meet the needs of our associates and residents and to reach our business goals.”
Strong leaders remain at the company, the spokesperson emphasized.
Written by Tim Mullaney