Lifespace Communities Appoints New President, CEO

Senior living nonprofit Lifespace Communities has named Jesse Jantzen as its new president and CEO, effective April 1.

Jantzen is an industry veteran with more than three decades of experience under his belt. He’s previously worked in similar roles with St. Louis-based Ascension Living; Alameda, California-based Elder Care Alliance; and Des Moines, Iowa-based Life Care Services. Most recently, he worked as President and CEO of Lutheran Life Communities, a nonprofit organization based in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Larry Smith, Lifespace’s interim president and CEO, is set to move back into his role as CFO once the leadership transition is complete. The organization’s previous CEO, Sloan Bentley, exited in February 2019.


“Lifespace Communities has a great reputation and, given its size and scale, will be a key contributor to transforming the field of aging,” Jantzen said in a statement about his hiring. “Our communities create environments where people thrive and dreams come to life in a purpose driven reality. I am delighted to be joining the team.”

Lutheran Life Communities’ board of directors has named longtime board member and chair Michael K. Renetzky as its interim CEO. The organization has also begun a nationwide search for a new leader with the help of an executive search firm.

Jantzen joins Des Moines, Iowa-based Lifespace amid a time of change for the organization. Last May, Senior Quality Lifestyles (SQLC), executed an affiliation agreement with Lifespace Communities which involved three SLQC buildings.


One of those buildings, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Fort Worth, Texas, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November, a move meant to keep the community “financially strong” in the face of industry headwinds. The CCRC in December successfully restructured its debt, and a month later it completed its bond refinancing, according to Lifespace.

Today, Lifespace owns and operates 15 CCRCs in eight states and houses more than 5,100 residents. The organization is among other not-for-profit senior housing providers who have announced new leadership in 2020. That includes Westminster Communities of Florida, which hired former Christian Living Communities CEO Terry Rogers in February.

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