DEBRA A. CAFARO is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Ventas, Inc., an S&P 500 company and real estate investment trust that owns approximately 1,300 healthcare, life science and senior living properties in North America and the United Kingdom and serves as the primary capital provider to leading healthcare companies.
A recognized industry leader, Cafaro set and oversaw execution of a long term strategy that has driven Ventas’s market capitalization to $24 billion from $200 million since her leadership began in 1999. The Company’s compound annual total shareholder return (TSR) has exceeded 25 percent since January 1, 2000.
Widely-acclaimed for her strategic vision, Cafaro has received multiple professional recognitions. In 2016, Cafaro was named one of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women (Forbes Magazine); a Top 50 Best-Performing CEOs in the World for the third consecutive year (Harvard Business Review); one of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare for the third time (Modern Healthcare) and highlighted in The 70 Elite real estate executives who shaped the industry for the past 70 years (Real Estate Forum). She has been recognized as a Top 25 Women in Healthcare three times (Modern Healthcare); as part of the All America Executive Team (Institutional Investor); and a Top 50 Women in World Business (Financial Times). Cafaro was named as one of the Bankable 21 CEOs in the book Get Rich Carefully by CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer, as one of nine Game-Changers in commercial real estate since 2000 (GlobeSt.com) and as one of the Most Powerful Women in Business (Crains Chicago Business). She was also honored with the Industry Leadership Award by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT).
In addition to her work at Ventas, Cafaro is broadly engaged across business, public policy, academic, sports and non-profit sectors. She is the Chair Elect of the Real Estate Roundtable and serves on its Executive Committee, and is a member of the Business Council. Cafaro serves on the executive committee of the Economics’ Club of Chicago and on the Boards of the PNC Financial Services Group Inc., the University of Chicago, Chicago Infrastructure Trust, Executives’ Club of Chicago, and World Business Chicago, and is on the Board of Trustees for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She is an owner and member of the Management Committee of the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins, consecutive Stanley Cup champions in 2016 and 2017.
Prior to joining Ventas, Cafaro was President and a Director of an NYSE-listed multi-family REIT, a practicing lawyer for 13 years and a judicial clerk for the Hon. J. Dickson Phillips, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Cafaro received her J.D. cum laude from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was named its 2011 Distinguished Alumna, and her B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame. She is married and has two children.