Vi President Randy Richardson is retiring at the end of May, and CFO Gary Smith is stepping in to lead the operator as president.
Richardson, who will have been with Vi for 22 years in April, will continue to work with the Chicago-based operator through the end of the year on an advisory basis in order to ensure a smooth leadership transition to Smith, who is the company’s most tenured executive and has worked with the company for more than 20 years.
In conjunction with Richardson’s forthcoming retirement, Tara Cope has ascended to the role of executive vice president and chief legal and administration Officer; Cary Maslow is now executive vice president and COO; and Tom Muszynski was promoted to the role of CFO.
Vi operates 10 continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) across the U.S.
Richardson told Senior Housing News that he had been planning his retirement for a period of time, but didn’t want to step away until the company was on more stable footing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. With a tenured leadership team in place and occupancy and other fundamentals trending in the right direction for Vi in 2022, Richardson said he is now comfortable transitioning to a new chapter in life.
“I’m keenly aware that we may have more pandemic issues in the future — I hope not,” he told SHN. “But as an organization, I’m incredibly proud of the leadership that I’ve had to work with to get us through the pandemic and get us to this point successfully.”
Richardson is passing the torch as the company has some big initiatives in progress, chief among them plans to launch a new luxury rental senior living brand with the development of a new 320-unit community in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“We’ve always been a developer, and development is a key path to growth for the company,” he said.
In fact, Richardson sees the company’s past development projects as his legacy in a way, given that each one was designed with the company’s “personal imprint.”
“That has helped us define our brand as we’ve grown,” he added.
When surveying the current senior living landscape, Richardson sees labor as the biggest challenge ahead. Like Vi has done in the past, he believes that more operators will need to work hard to become “employers of choice.”
“I’m incredibly proud of the position that we’ve taken with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion, and I hope that will be a legacy that is continued on into the future,” he said. “Because, that will help us bring the most talented people into the organization and ensure our success for the future.”
Regarding his next steps after his retirement date on May 31, Richardson — who has two grandkids and another on the way — said he plans to spend more time with family.
His work as president on the Argentum board of directors will continue through at least the end of his current term. He also anticipates he will do some consulting for various organizations, and he is interested in pursuing not-for-profit work.
And although Richardson believes there is a very small chance he might return to the senior living industry in some other leadership role in the future, he is aware that doing so would likely require years of hard work and attention.
“I’m not sure I have that in me for another round,” he said.
But in the meantime, he believes that Vi is in very good hands with its new executive team.
“I feel like I’m walking away … at a moment when I can feel comfortable that I’ve got great people that will be able to take over the responsibility of leading the organization in the fashion that I have going forward,” he said. “I am proud to be a part of what we’ve accomplished.”