Ensign Group Names New CEO, Other Leadership Changes

The Ensign Group (Nasdaq: ENSG) is shaking up its executive team — including naming a new CEO — two weeks after the Mission Viejo, California-based company reported record earnings.

Ensign is making the following appointments, effective after the company’s annual shareholder meeting on May 30:

  • Christopher Christensen will step down from his current position as president/CEO. He was named executive chairman of the board and will continue to work full-time on strategic growth initiatives and new business ventures. He will also serve as chairman of the board.
  • Current director and chairman of the board, Roy Christensen, will become chairman emeritus. He will also maintain a seat on Ensign’s board.
  • Barry Port, CEO of Ensign’s skilled nursing service line, Ensign Services, will assume the role of Ensign Group CEO. The company announced it intends to amend its charter and expand its board of directors to eight seats, and install Port on the board.
  • Spencer Burton, president of Ensign’s Northwest-based portfolio company, Pennant Healthcare, Inc., will add Ensign Group president and COO to his duties.
  • CFO Suzanne Snapper will have executive vice president added to her title.
  • Ensign EVP and Secretary Chad Keetch will assume the role of chief investment officer.

The moves come after Ensign Group posted earnings per share of 48 cents in Q4 2018, a 128.6% increase over the previous year, as well as an adjusted earnings per share of 54 cents for the same period. That marked a 35% spike over the prior year and the company’s highest-ever adjusted earnings per share.


The Ensign Group’s growing senior housing portfolio was a major driver of that performance. Its assisted living and independent living portfolio accounted for $151.8 million in 2018, an increase of 11.1% year-over-year. The segment saw a total revenue of nearly $40.5 million in Q4 2018.

“The truth is, in all my years at Ensign, I have never been more energized or exhilarated about the opportunities that lie ahead,” Christensen said in a statement announcing the leadership change.

The Ensign Group has a portfolio of 244 health care facilities across the care continuum, along with 23 hospice agencies, 24 home health agencies and seven home care businesses in 16 states.


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