Aegis Living has named former Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX) executive Kris Engskov to the role of president.
Engskov, who previously worked as executive vice president of business integration for the global coffee giant, is succeeding Judy Meleliat, who is retiring from her role as president for the Bellevue, Washington-based senior living operator. Engskov is officially set to begin his new role later this year in the spring, and will work with Meleliat during the transition period.
At Starbucks, Engskov touched many aspects of the business, including brand strategy and marketing, real estate development, technology implementation, customer experiences and operational excellence. But his role with the coffee company isn’t the only high-profile job on his resume. Engskov also worked for Madrona Venture Group, a Seattle-based venture capital fund, and served as assistant press secretary and personal aide to U.S. President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2000.
“I was fortunate to join Starbucks in 2003, in one of its earliest chapters,” Engskov said in a statement shared with Senior Housing News. “Today, I am similarly excited to join another mission-driven company, at a time when demand for senior living is on the rise. And especially a company that is respected as the leader in its industry for how it has reinvented the senior living experience.”
Engskov also pointed to his experience at Starbucks from a recruitment and staffing perspective as being relevant to the senior living industry.
“Of all the things I’ve done at Starbucks, helping recruit, train, develop and retain great people has always been my passion,” he said. “Over the course of the next several years, the need for people in the care business will only grow. I can only imagine the opportunities that lie ahead at Aegis Living to recruit, train and retain the very best available. Just like at Starbucks, the quality of our people will be our greatest differentiator.”
Engskov’s experience will help the senior living operator innovate in the way it cares for older adults, according to Dwayne J. Clark, founder and CEO of Aegis Living.
“His passion for fostering a nurturing and caring workplace also stands out as a fit for Aegis Living’s hallmark ’employee first’ culture that is at the heart of how we help our residents live their best lives each day,” Clark said of Engskov in a press release. “With a winning combination of operational expertise and focus on people, Kris is the right person to sustain our culture and lead our organization through future growth, and to continued success.”
Some of Starbucks’ recent initiatives have overlapped with those undertaken by senior living operators. For example, the company recently opened its first cafe in Mexico City and staffed it with 14 employees who are all at least 50 years old — a practice that some senior living companies have also embraced. More generally, some within the senior living industry have suggested thinking more like retailers in order to attract baby boomers.
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Aegis Living has in the past hired leaders from other business segments, including from from Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN), Ritz-Carlton, the St. Regis and Wynn hotels, and Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN).
Aegis operates 31 communities in Washington, California and Nevada. The company also has eight new assisted living communities under development in Bellevue, Kirkland, Mercer Island and Seattle, Washington; and in San Rafael, California.
Written by Tim Regan