Welltower Inc. (NYSE: WELL) on Monday announced that CEO Tom DeRosa will be stepping down, with top executive Shankh Mitra promoted as his replacement.
“After careful thought and consideration of the Company’s current position and opportunities ahead, the Board and I have decided that now is the right time for me to hand the reins to Shankh,” DeRosa said in a statement. “There is no executive better suited to lead Welltower at this critical juncture.”
The move was effective Monday.
Mitra, who had been serving simultaneously as Welltower’s chief operating officer and chief investment officer, will also fill a seat on the Toledo, Ohio-based real estate investment trust’s (REIT) board; he will additionally retain his CIO title as CEO.
“In April, we elevated Shankh to the roles of Vice Chair and COO with the intent that he would ultimately succeed Tom as CEO. Since the start of the pandemic, Shankh’s unyielding focus on portfolio performance and optimization has never been more evident,” lead independent director Jeffrey Donahue said in a statement. “We have the utmost confidence in Shankh’s strategic vision and leadership and believe he is the right person to guide Welltower as it continues to successfully navigate the current environment and pursue the exciting next phase of growth for the Company.”
Kenneth Bacon, formerly an independent director, has also been named chairman of Welltower’s board.
“I am humbled and honored to serve as CEO of Welltower and to lead this remarkable team as we embark on the next chapter of our journey,” Mitra said. “I am grateful to Tom for his mentorship and partnership and I deeply appreciate the confidence and trust the Board and my colleagues have placed in me.”
With DeRosa at the helm, Welltower became a significant player in the post-acute and long-term care space with the 2018 acquisition of nursing home giant HCR ManorCare in a $4.4 billion deal. The REIT purchased the real estate associated with ManorCare in an 80-20 joint venture with hospital system ProMedica, which acquired the operations side outright.
DeRosa repeatedly framed the deal as a transformative play, emphasizing that Welltower didn’t look at it as a skilled nursing deal — but rather a way to control the entire continuum from hospital to post-acute facility to the community.
“When we announced ProMedica, people said: ‘Oh, they’re doing a SNF deal.’ That’s a very pedestrian view of what the ProMedica joint venture is,” DeRosa said last year. “The ProMedica joint venture was a first-ever joint venture between a not-for-profit health system and a for-profit health care delivery platform like Welltower that enabled this health system to further vertically integrate.”
After initially triggering some credit downgrades for ProMedica, ManorCare has emerged as a bright spot for the Toledo, Ohio-based health system in recent quarters, with the chain’s performance helping to offset losses in its managed Medicaid arm; federal relief under the CARES Act also mitigated some ProMedica losses that resulted from declines in non-essential surgeries during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
ProMedica late last week announced that it will be rebranding its ManorCare properties under the “ProMedica Senior Care” name over the coming 18 months.
“ProMedica’s rebrand supports the organization’s efforts to intentionally bring together diverse health and well-being services to help individuals reach their highest potential for health,” the health system said in a statement last Friday. “This diversity allows ProMedica to champion healthy aging, cultivate innovative solutions and lead in the area of social determinants of health.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.