New Senior Investment Group (NYSE: SNR) appointed Justin Hutchens to its board of directors, the New York City-based health care real estate investment trust announced Wednesday.
His appointment is effective immediately, New Senior said in a statement.
Hutchens is currently chief executive officer of HC-One, one of the largest care home operators in the United Kingdom. He is no stranger to senior living and care in the United States.
Prior to joining HC-One in April 2017, Hutchens spent four months as president of Irvine, California-based health care real estate investment trust HCP (NYSE: HCP), and was chief investment officer before that.
Hutchens also held roles as president and CEO of National Health Investors (NYSE: NHI), and chief operating officer for Emeritus Corp. and Summerville Senior Living, in a 25-year career in senior living.
He joins New Senior’s board in a time of transition for the company. In April, New Senior received $53 million in a lawsuit settlement with its largest investor, private equity firm Fortress Investment Group (NYSE: FIG), its primary operator, Holiday Acquisition Holdings, and members of its board of directors.
The settlement also called for changes to New Senior’s corporate bylaws and certificate of incorporation to eliminate the company’s classified board over a period of three years and an amendment to the bylaws providing for the election of directors by a majority of the votes cast in uncontested elections.
The lawsuit was brought by shareholder John Cumming in December 2016. Cumming alleged the 2015 acquisition of 28 senior living properties from Holiday Retirement, which is majority owned by one of Fortress’ private equity funds, was approved to line the pockets of Fortress executives at the expense of New Senior shareholders. He further alleged the deal caused New Senior stock prices to plummet, costing shareholders over $100 million.
New Senior has worked to separate itself from Fortress as part of a larger restructuring effort. The REIT issued 400,000 shares of Series A Preferred Stock to another Fortress affiliate last January, with a preferred liquidation price of $40 million.
New Senior also recently transitioned 51 Holiday properties from leases to a management structure and is moving to diversify its portfolio, which consists of 133 senior housing communities across 37 states.
“[Hutchens’] appointment demonstrates another step in our continued commitment to improving corporate governance at New Senior,” CEO Susan Givens said in a statement.