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Ryman boss Simon Challies steps down as Parkinson's takes its toll

Friday 19th May 2017

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Ryman Healthcare managing director Simon Challies will leave the country's biggest listed retirement village operator at the end of June, having led the company through its 15th record profit, after recognising the toll Parkinson's disease has had on his health. 

Challies will end 11 years in charge of Ryman on June 30, and will be succeeded by chief financial officer Gordon MacLeod, who will take over as chief executive, the company said in a statement. Challies was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2011 and continued to lead Ryman with the board's backing. He first started with Ryman in 1999 as CFO and will continue as an adviser to the board until the end of next year. 

"This is a demanding job, and I’ve realised this year that my health was deteriorating and it was taking too great a toll on me personally, and on my family," Challies said. "I’m a great optimist and I think having Parkinson’s has made me a better MD of a healthcare company than I otherwise might have been."

Under Challies leadership, Ryman's shares have soared 402 percent to $8.63, which adjusts for a five-for-one share split in early 2007. That compares to a 109 percent increase in the S&P/NZX 50 index over the same period. 

Chairman David Kerr paid tribute to Challies' success leading Ryman and acknowledged the succession planning by the outgoing managing director in smoothing the transition. 

Ryman's financial controller David Bennett will take over as CFO. 

(BusinessDesk)


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