Atria to Create Mid-Market Brand Gladwell, Hires Chief Human Resources Officer

Atria Senior Living has announced a new middle-market brand called Gladwell, and the company has also added to its leadership team, including by hiring a chief human resources officer who previously worked for GE.

Louisville, Kentucky-based Atria is one of the largest senior living operators in the United States, providing management for about a dozen owners across about 230 communities.

That scale lends itself to creating a multi-brand portfolio diversified by price point and other factors, CEO John Moore said at Senior Housing News’ BUILD event in May 2019, adding that Atria likely would have a portfolio of five brands by the end of the year.

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To help Atria establish a family of brands, Regan Atkinson has been named senior vice president of product development. In this role, she will help inform what Atria offers across a multi-brand portfolio. Atkinson has been with Atria for 12 years. 

With the Gladwell mid-market brand, Atria will seek to “offer high quality senior housing and services to more customers in thoughtful ways,” according to a company press release. Atkinson was not immediately available to provide further details to SHN.

Atria is known for market-rate and high-end senior living communities, including one of the few operational communities in New York City. When asked at BUILD about the potential for Atria to make a middle-market play, Moore said that offering a high-quality product at this price point is a “really, really tough problem to solve.”

While creating a scalable and profitable middle-market offering is a difficult proposition given high labor costs and other elements of the standard market-rate senior housing model, the potential demand for such a product is enormous, according to research findings released earlier this year by universities and the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC).

Atkinson will also lead the creation of a new high-end, lifestyle-focused brand — as yet unnamed — for urban projects being developed with New York City-based Related Cos. Atria and Related last year announced that they would pursue a $3 billion development pipeline, and in May unveiled the first project, in San Francisco. 

In the same press release announcing the new hires and mid-market brand, Atria acknowledged working on a project with Related in New York City.

Plans came to light in June of a senior living project Related is pursuing near its massive Hudson Yards development in Manhattan, although Atria was not named in those plans.

Hiring from outside the industry

Atria also recently hired two new leaders who come to senior living from outside the industry.

Kelli Corney is taking over Atkinson’s previous role, as vice president of strategic marketing and creative. Corney co-founded Louisville-based advertising agency Mightily. Prior to that, she worked at NBCUniversal out of Chicago and London, and has also worked for Fortune 500 companies. Corney will lead Atria’s award-winning in-house marketing and advertising agency.

And Atria hired Eric Leef as chief human resources officer. Leef’s resume includes more than 16 years with GE Appliances, a Haier Company, and its predecessor General Electric. Most recently, he led HR for 8,000 supply chain employees in the United States, China and Korea.

Intense workforce challenges face senior living providers across the country. Tight labor markets, rising wages, and a caregiver shortage are coming together to make staffing a top concern, and a difficult one to solve.

Leef will bring “a new level of support as well as development and growth opportunities” for Atria’s workforce, the press release stated. The company employs more than 14,000 people.

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