Kimberly S. Lody has been appointed president and CEO of Dallas-based Capital Senior Living Corp., effective immediately, the company announced Tuesday morning.
She succeeds Lawrence A. Cohen, who retired at the end of 2018, at one of the country’s largest operators of senior living communities.
“I am thrilled to have Kim on board,” Capital Senior Living Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Carey Hendrickson told McKnight’s Senior Living. “I think she is the right leader at the right time for our company, where we are today. Her expertise in sales and marketing and operational expertise are really going to be valuable for our company moving forward. And I know I speak for all of our executive management team in saying how pleased we are to have Kim on board.”
Lody, 53, was unanimously selected by the company’s board of directors, Board Chairman Michael Reid said.
“As a member of the board since 2014, Kim is deeply familiar with Capital Senior Living’s business and has been pivotal in our efforts to refine our strategy and strengthen our financial position,” he said. “Furthermore, her involvement on a three-person executive committee of the board, established in August 2018 following the announcement of Larry Cohen’s retirement and tasked to oversee the development of the company’s strategic and operational direction during the transition period, has positioned Kim to hit the ground running as Capital Senior Living’s new CEO.”
Lody will continue to serve on the company’s board.
Barring the termination of an employment agreement signed Monday, her time as president and CEO will last at least until Dec. 31, 2021, per a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The term can be renewed in one-year increments after it expires.
Capital Senior Living is the country’s ninth largest operator of senior living communities according to the 2018 ASHA 50 list compiled by the American Seniors Housing Association and is No. 10 on Argentum’s 2018 list of largest providers. The company operates 129 independent living, assisted living and memory care communities with the ability to serve a total of approximately 16,500 residents. Its largest presence is in Texas, Indiana and Lody’s native Ohio.
A ‘pivotal moment’
Lody said she joins the company at a “pivotal moment in its history.”
“Any time there is a leadership change, I would consider that a pivotal moment for an organization, because that means new ideas, new perspective, perhaps some new ways of doing things,” she told McKnight’s Senior Living. “And given some of the headwinds in the industry and some of the challenges there, I think that, together, makes it a pivotal moment and one in which we can as an organization also pivot and then move forward.”
Lody said that, as CEO, one of her priorities will be improving the company’s operating performance, which is the company’s biggest current challenge. “There’s a significant sense of urgency around that, and it’s something that the team is fully focused on,” she said, stressing that “team” encompasses the entire organization.
Other priorities for the new leader will be driving occupancy growth, stabilizing rates and strengthening the company’s financial position.
Capital Senior Living saw “modest” growth in occupancy and rate in the third quarter of 2018 compared with the previous quarter but was “disappointed” by decreases in other key metrics, Cohen told analysts and shareholders during the company’s November earnings call. He and other executives outlined initiatives being undertaken by the organization to address challenges.
Those interested in hearing more about the company’s plans and new initiatives will need to wait until the company’s next earnings call, in late February — a specific date has not been determined yet — for details, but Lody shared some general thoughts.
“Parallel with improving the operating performance will also be Carey continuing to work on the balance sheet and improving the balance sheet along the way,” she said. “And then, when you think about driving occupancy growth and stabilizing rates, a lot of that has to do with really accelerating and enhancing our sales and marketing activities. And then lastly, I would say, the industry broadly is experiencing some challenges with availability of labor and wage rates and things like that. And so our people initiatives are also very critical to the future of the company, and making sure that we are able to secure the best talent and retain the best talent so that we can build alongside that talent to again take the company forward and meet those goals.”
More than 25 years of experience
The new CEO has more than 25 years of experience in multi-site healthcare marketing, sales and operational management.
“Her significant operational expertise and sales, marketing and business development experience in the healthcare industry make her an ideal fit to accelerate the company’s strategy,” Reid said.
Most recently, Lody was president of GN Hearing North America, part of the medical device division of the GN Group. At GN Hearing, she led seven consecutive years of above-market growth and expansion across multiple channels and brands, according to Capital. Lody’s experience includes mergers and acquisitions, investor relations and commercial excellence.
Before joining GN Hearing, Lody was vice president of marketing and then president of Chronic Care, the U.S. subsidiary of Coloplast, a $5 billion global medical device manufacturer based in Denmark, from 2009 to 2011. From 2004 to 2009, she was an independent consultant, providing interim leadership and revenue enhancement programs to companies in healthcare, consumer products, automotive and insurance services.
Over the course of her career, Lody also was chief operating officer of Senior Home Care from 2003 to 2004, chief marketing officer of Gentiva Health Services from 1997 to 2003 and vice president of managed care programs for Apria Healthcare from 1994 to 1997.
“Each one of those entities has operated in a different segment of healthcare, but those different segments have a lot of parallels into this space,” Lody said. “And I have been through, in those spaces, some of the same things that we are facing here at Capital Senior Living. So I think understanding the regulatory environment, understanding funding mechanisms, understanding the way that healthcare is delivered and then, on top of that, also understanding the consumer aspect of healthcare — when you pull all of those together, I think it’s that combined experience that will be most valuable to me in the future.”
Among the awards that Lody has received during her career have been the 2018 Women in Business award from the Twin Cities Business Journal in Minneapolis, the 2017 Diploma of the Danish Export Association and His Royal Highness Prince Henrik’s Medal of Honor from Denmark.
Lody earned an undergraduate degree in business administration from Hiram College, Hiram, OH, and an MBA with a concentration in finance from Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC.
‘Another dimension’ of leadership ability
She joins an expanding list of women at the top of large senior living organizations, among the most recent appointments being Lucinda “Cindy” Baier at the country’s largest operator, Brookdale Senior Living, who became president and CEO in February 2018, and Katherine “Katie” Potter at the country’s fourth-largest operator, Five Star Senior Living, who began her duties as president and CEO this month.
“I love that. I think that’s fantastic,” Lody said. “I look forward to meeting Cindy and Katie at some point in the future at one of the industry conferences. Many of our residents, and many of our caregivers, are women, and that’s actually been the case in most of my positions in my career. So I think that that adds, again, another dimension to my leadership ability in working with the company, both here in Dallas at the corporate office but also on the front lines with the team there that’s delivering that resident experience. So I’m excited about it.”