Welltower (WELL) Names Shankh Mitra As CEO

By Amit Chowdhry ● October 6, 2020
  • Welltower Inc. (NYSE: WELL) has announced that it has named Shankh Mitra as Chief Executive Officer and he also joined the Board of Directors

Welltower Inc. (NYSE: WELL) has announced that it has named Shankh Mitra as Chief Executive Officer and he also joined the Board of Directors. Mitra — who has been serving as Vice Chair, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Investment Officer — is succeeding Thomas J. DeRosa. DeRosa is stepping down as Chairman and CEO after leading Welltower for over six years. Mitra will retain his CIO title and continue to lead Welltower’s data analytics-driven capital allocation and operator relationships.

Mitra had joined Welltower in 2016 and has served as the company’s Chief Investment Officer since 2018 and he also worked as Vice Chair and Chief Operating Offer as of April 2020. He also served as SVP, Finance, and then as SVP, Investments before assuming his most recent roles. Before joining Welltower, Mitra was a Portfolio Manager investing in Real Estate Securities at Millennium Management where he managed an accomplished team of investment professionals responsible for bottom-up underwriting of commercial real estate companies and portfolios, security selection, quantitative portfolio and risk management. And Mitra also held Senior Analyst positions at Citadel Investment Group and Fidelity Investments after beginning his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Mitra received an MBA from Columbia Business School specializing in Applied Value Investing and a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Jadavpur University.

The company also announced that Kenneth J. Bacon — who has been serving as an Independent Director on the Board since 2016 has been named Chairman. And in this role, Bacon will lead the Board and partner with Mitra and the leadership team as they execute the company’s strategy to create long-term shareholder value.

Bacon is a co-founder of RailField Realty Partners, a financial advisory and asset management firm. And Bacon has served as RailField’s managing partner since his retirement from the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) in March 2012. Before forming RailField, Bacon spent 19 years at Fannie Mae, most recently serving as the EVP of the multifamily mortgage business from July 2005 to March 2012. Bacon is a member of the Board of Directors of Comcast Corporation (having previously served as Lead Independent Director) and Ally Financial Inc. Previously, Bacon was a member of the Board of Directors of Bentall Kennedy L.P. until its acquisition by Sun Life Financial of Canada in 2015 and Forest City Realty Trust until its acquisition by Brookfield in 2018. Bacon had joined Welltower’s Board of Directors in 2016. Bacon received an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree from the London School of Economic and Political Science, and a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Stanford University.

Welltower also announced a financial update as well. The total senior housing operating (SHO) portfolio occupancy had declined about 30 basis points during September to about 78.4% as of September 30, 2020. And the company saw consecutive occupancy increases during the last two weeks of September, marking the first period of back-to-back occupancy gains since the start of the pandemic.

The total SHO occupancy declined about 150 basis points during the third quarter from approximately 79.9% to 78.4%. And the company collected 98% of rent due in Q3 2020. In terms of the outpatient medical portfolio, the company reported 93.6% portfolio occupancy on September 30, 2020, and approximately 99% of cash rent due in September has been collected or had deferral requests approved by Welltower.

Since the previous update, announced seniors housing and outpatient medical dispositions totaled over $1.3 billion in value. And as of October 5, 2020, near-term liquidity totaled $5.3 billion.

Key Quotes:

“Tom and I have known each other for years and he has always been an extremely capable executive. His vision of reimagining and reinventing the built environment for effective delivery of health care and wellness services has played an instrumental role in transforming Welltower into the world’s largest health and wellness real estate platform. On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I want to sincerely thank Tom for his lasting contributions to the company.”

“Tom and I have known each other for years and he has always been an extremely capable executive. His vision of reimagining and reinventing the built environment for effective delivery of health care and wellness services has played an instrumental role in transforming Welltower into the world’s largest health and wellness real estate platform. On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I want to sincerely thank Tom for his lasting contributions to the company.”

“The Board is pleased to appoint Shankh as CEO. Over the past five years, Shankh’s investing and operational acumen, complemented by the significant efforts of Tim McHugh, Matt McQueen and a deep bench of senior leaders at Welltower, have put the Company in a position of strength. 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. 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.”

— Lead Independent Director Jeffrey H. Donahue

“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. 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,” said Mr. Mitra. “While COVID-19 has presented us with many challenges, the past six months have underscored Welltower’s core value proposition: to serve as a strategic, nimble and creative capital allocator by leveraging our operator relationships and data platform. We are encouraged by the relative stabilization of our operating performance and incredibly excited about the opportunity to deploy capital in attractive investment opportunities. Over the last five years, Matt, Tim and I have been working closely together alongside Jeff and Ken. With our highly-motivated team and an ultra-strong balance sheet, we are well positioned to drive significant long-term value for shareholders.”

— Shankh Mitra

“I am honored to be named Chairman and look forward to working with Shankh and the rest of the highly-experienced leadership team and Board to build upon the foundation Tom laid and deliver significant per-share growth to our shareholders. Welltower is in a very strong position today and has a bright future.”

— Kenneth J. Bacon

“I am proud of our many accomplishments during my time as CEO and thankful to the Board and the entire Welltower team for allowing me to pursue my vision. We have created something unique at Welltower, and as a result, have become the leading health and wellness real estate platform. 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. There is no executive better suited to lead Welltower at this critical juncture. Shankh and I have worked shoulder-to-shoulder over the last five years and I have witnessed his strong leadership, relentless focus on organizational efficiency, and unparalleled approach to capital allocation. I’m truly excited for Welltower’s future and will be cheering for the Company’s continued success in the years to come.”

— Thomas J. DeRosa

Disclosure: I have a small position of Welltower in my portfolio