Brookdale GC named CEO

Former Bass attorney joined senior living company in '06; Q4 numbers dip on higher costs, asset impairment

The board of Brookdale Senior Living has chosen Andy Smith, the company's general counsel, to succeed Bill Sheriff as CEO of the country's largest senior living operator.

Smith is expected to take over from Sheriff on March 1, pending Brookdale's filing of its annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He joined the company in the fall of 2006 from Bass Berry & Sims after Brookdale acquired American Retirement Corp. for $1.2 billion. American Retirement had been one of Smith's clients at Bass, where he was chair of the health care practice.

"Andy's sharp intellect, deep understanding of and experience in the senior living industry, and his strong commitment to our philosophy and values best qualifies him to lead our Company into the future," Chairman Jeff Leeds said in a statement.

Sheriff announced last August that he planned to step down after leading Brookdale and American Retirement since 1984. Smith's naming Monday as his successor came at the same time the company reported a fourth-quarter loss of $24.5 million, 65 percent larger than the year-ago number. Revenues for the period rose 4 percent to $700 million, but operating expenses climbed 7 percent and $19.4 million in impairment charges also ate into the bottom line.

Shares of Brookdale (Ticker: BKD) closed Monday trading at $26.88, down almost 2 percent on the day. They've risen more than 40 percent over the past six months.