Seniors Housing Business

APR 2018

Seniors Housing Business is the magazine that helps you navigate the evolution of the seniors housing industry.

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42 www.seniorshousingbusiness.com Seniors Housing Business n April 2018 By Jeff Shaw It's no secret that Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD), the largest owner and operator of seniors housing in the United States with an operational portfolio of 1,023 communities in 46 states as of Dec. 31, 2017, has suffered through a few tumultuous years. Problems surfaced after the Brentwood, Tennessee-based company purchased fellow seniors housing giant Emeritus in 2014 for $2.8 billion. Brookdale struggled to digest the mas- sive acquisition. After initially experiencing a lift in the months following the merger, Brook- dale's stock price fell from $38.72 per share on April 10, 2015, to $11.80 on Feb. 8, 2016. BKD stock opened at $6.89 per share on Monday, March 26. The company has been in talks to sell at least twice. In 2017, Chinese investor Zhonghong Zhuoye offered $3 billion for the company — $20 per share, according to reports by Reuters and Bloomberg. The transaction fell through last November when Chinese regulators deemed the deal to be "high risk" and the bank financing the deal pulled out, according to The Financial Times. This February, Brookdale rejected another suitor after determining that the $9 per share offered by the undisclosed buyer was too low. At the same time the company announced the rejection of the offer, it also announced a major change in its C-Suite. T. Andrew Smith, the CEO since 2013, resigned at the end of February. Lucinda "Cindy" Baier, the company's CFO, was pro- moted to replace Smith. Baier assumed the CFO position in 2015. Her previous experience includes serving on the board of directors for several other distressed companies, such as Sears and The Bon-Ton. Seniors Housing Business asked Baier what her plans are to right the ship at Brookdale. Her responses were sent via email. Seniors Housing Business: You're obviously taking over during a turbulent time for Brook- dale. What do you see as the way forward now? Cindy Baier: Our top priority is to turn around the business. We plan to return to our strong foundation where we will differentiate ourselves based on caring associates who create passionate advocates and generate referrals. It is about winning locally while leverag- ing industry-leading scale and experience. We will make decisions closer to our customers by empowering our executive directors with more local decision rights. We are also changing how we allocate our resources. This is about improving our ability to operate by narrowing our focus. So, we will stop trying to do so much and will eliminate things that distract us from our mission. We will make sure our associates are able to focus only on what matters most — our residents. SHB: I understand you've been going to Brookdale communities and speaking directly with associates and residents since your pro- motion was announced. What's your reason for doing that and how has it gone so far? Baier: To understand what is best for our associates, residents and patients, it is essential to spend time with them and to listen to their ideas and observations. That's why I am plan- ning to visit communities on a regular basis. I am first connecting with our associates in the corporate support offices with town hall meetings in Nashville and Milwaukee where we can reach a large number of associates very quickly. Next up will be travel to communities in a number of locations to share information about our path forward and learn about how we can help streamline processes to provide our community associates with more time with their residents and patients. SHB: Although there have already been Cindy Baier CEO, Brookdale n The SHB Interview New head honcho at the country's largest owner-operator is determined to right the ship.

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