Genesis Names ‘Turnaround Specialist’ Wilson as New CEO in Second Leadership Change of 2021

Genesis HealthCare on Tuesday morning announced Harry Wilson as its new CEO, replacing Robert Fish in the role after less than three months at the helm.

Fish, who replaced George Hager as CEO in January, will remain a member of the board, according to the Kennett Square, Pa-based Genesis. Wilson will also join the company’s board of directors, replacing James McKeon.

David Harrington, who was one of a pair of directors appointed by the health care turnaround firm ReGen Healthcare alongside a $50 million debt investment in Genesis, was named executive chairman.


“The Board and I would like to thank Bob Fish for stepping in to lead Genesis after the retirement of the company’s longtime CEO as well as Jim McKeon for his many years of dedication to Genesis,” Harrington said in the press release announcing the changes. “We are excited to welcome Mr. Wilson, and his highly regarded company, as we quickly chart a path to recovery. Mr. Wilson has a successful history of rapidly transforming businesses, driving significant improvements in customer service and unlocking value.”

Wilson’s focus will be on “immediately developing and executing a turnaround plan for the company, while building a foundation for future innovation and growth as a national leader in eldercare,” according to the release.

Wilson — who Genesis described as a “turnaround specialist” in its announcement — has a track record of restructurings, including leadership of the restructuring of General Motors for the U.S. Treasury. He founded MAEVA Group, described as “a turnaround merchant bank” by PitchBook, in 2011; “several MAEVA colleagues” are joining Wilson at Genesis to take roles in the early stages of the operator’s turnaround.


“I am very excited to lead the team at Genesis through this challenging period to an exciting future,” Wilson said in the release announcing the deal. “I plan to work with our seasoned management team to develop the best path forward to continue delivering high-quality care to our residents and patients and unlock the potential of the Company and its people. We will build the best foundation for long-term success expeditiously but thoughtfully.”

The COVID-19 pandemic hit Genesis particularly hard, with the operator announcing in August 2020 that there was “substantial doubt” about its ability to continue as a going concern. The operator had a significant concentration of facilities in and around the Northeastern U.S. — a region battered by the pandemic in its early months, Genesis noted at the time. Several of its publicly traded landlords took rent write-downs as a result.

In January, the operator announced that George Hager, who had been CEO for 17 years, was retiring; then-chairman of the board Robert Fish was announced as his replacement.

Genesis announced earlier this month that it would voluntarily delist from the New York Stock Exchange as part of its restructuring efforts with ReGen. The firm’s investment in Genesis grants it a 25% ownership stake in the operator’s subsidiaries, with options to increase that share to 43%.

That announcement came soon after the real estate investment trust (REIT) Welltower Inc. (NYSE: WELL) said it would largely end its relationship with the operator, with about 51 assets involved in Welltower’s exit.

Genesis also came under fire during a recent Senate hearing on COVID-19 in nursing homes, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., publicly questioning the operator’s decision to grant Hager a $5.2 million retention bonus.

Warren also sent letters to the company asking for more information about its finances and decision-making regarding Hager’s bonus, particularly in light of the restructuring.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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