Merrill Gardens President David Eskenazy to Leave at End of Year

SEATTLE — David Eskenazy, president of seniors housing operator Merrill Gardens, has announced his plans to leave the company at the end of the year.

Eskenazy cited the difficulty of splitting time between his family in Sacramento and his work in Seattle, where Merrill Gardens is based. He says he doesn’t have a new position lined up, but is not considering this retirement as he hopes to continue to serve on various company boards of directors and advisory boards.

“This is part of a career plan I’ve had for a long time,” says Eskenazy. “I get asked periodically to serve on boards, and I had to turn those away due to my commitment to Merrill Gardens. It’s a pretty natural transition to look toward those opportunities now rather than a full-time role in the industry.”

Eskenazy has a diverse history in commercial real estate, having worked in the hotel industry for 20 years. He was also a director for retail kiosk company Coinstar when it acquired Redbox in 2009.

Eskenazy was not aware of any plans for a replacement, but notes that not only does Merrill Gardens have several months to find one, he’ll also be available to help.

“[Bill Pettit, president of Merrill Gardens parent company R.D. Merrill Co.] and the board are handling that, and I’ll transition however they’d like me to transition,” says Eskenazy. “After my last day, my phone will still be working. I’ll help any way I can. I have a great relationship with the company and care about its success.”

“I can’t call it retirement — I can’t use that word,” adds Eskenazy. “I’ll still have a lot of business, but my golf game should get better and better.”

Merrill Gardens operates 33 seniors housing communities totaling 4,241 units, making it the 40thlargest operator in the nation, according to June 1 numbers by the American Seniors Housing Association.

— Jeff Shaw