Brookdale Appoints Mark Parrell and Lee Wielansky to Board Of Directors with Sandell Approval

by Jeff Shaw

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Brookdale Senior Living Inc. (NYSE: BKD) has appointed of Mark J. Parrell and Lee S. Wielansky to its board of directors as Class III directors.  The two appointees were selected with approval of Sandell Asset Management Corp., a shareholder group within the company that was pushing for changes on the board and for Brookdale to spin off its real estate portfolio into a REIT.

The appointments fill the vacancies created by the retirements from the board of Mark J. Schulte, who had previously served as CEO and Co-CEO of the company and had as a director since 2008, and Dr. Samuel Waxman, who had served as a director since 2005. Following the changes, the Brookdale Board will remain comprised of nine directors, seven of whom are independent.

Parrell brings over 20 years of real estate, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions and investment experience to the Brookdale board. Since 1999, Parrell has worked at Equity Residential, an S&P 500 company focused on the acquisition, development and management of apartment properties. He was appointed executive vice president and chief financial officer of Equity Residential in 2007 after previously serving as senior vice president and treasurer of the company. Parrell also served as a director of Aviv REIT Inc., a publicly traded healthcare REIT, from its initial public offering until it was acquired earlier this year.

Wielansky has more than 40 years of commercial real estate investment, management and development experience. In 1983, Wielansky co-founded Midland Development Group, which focused on the development of retail properties in the Midwest and Southeast and which was sold to Regency Centers Corporation. He has served as a managing director of Regency Centers Corporation and as the president and CEO of JDN Development Company Inc., which was a wholly owned subsidiary of JDN Realty Corporation, a REIT that was acquired by Developers Diversified Realty Corporation. Since 2003, he has served as chairman and CEO of the re-started Midland Development Group and he also currently serves as chairman and CEO of Opportunistic Equities, which specializes in low-income housing. Wielansky currently serves as lead trustee of Acadia Realty Trust, a publicly traded REIT focused on the ownership, acquisition, redevelopment and management of commercial retail properties in the United States, and as a director of Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. and Pulaski Financial Corp. 

“We have been engaged in the process of identifying new directors as part of our focus on ensuring that the Board has the appropriate balance of senior housing, real estate, finance, and operations experience,” says Jackie Clegg, chair of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of Brookdale’s board. “As part of this process, the Committee previously identified and vetted Mr. Parrell. The Committee also vetted the candidates nominated by Sandell Asset Management in March 2015 and determined that the appointment of Mr. Wielansky would further the Committee’s objective to create the appropriate balance of experience on the Board.”

In conjunction with the appointments, Sandell has agreed to withdraw its nominations to the board and approve Parrell and Wielansky.

“The two new directors joining the board and the investment committee bring the right range and depth of experience to help the Company continue to address its strategic, operational and corporate governance goals,” says Thomas Sandell, CEO of Sandell Asset Management. “We look forward to ongoing dialogue with Brookdale’s management and board during this period of increased industry strategic activity and real estate values.”  

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