Board of Directors
Debra A. Cafaro
Debra A. Cafaro has served as our Chief Executive Officer since 1999 and as Chairman of the Board of Directors since 2003.
Under Ms. Cafaro’s leadership, Ventas’s market capitalization rose to $20 billion in early 2013 from $200 million during her first year at the Company (1999-2000). The Company’s compound annual total shareholder return (TSR) exceeded 28 percent for the fourteen year period ended 12/31/13. Additionally, Ventas was named the top performing publicly traded financial company for the first decade of this century. In 2013, Fortune Magazine ranked Ventas as the third most admired real estate company in the world.
Ms. Cafaro was named by CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer as one of 21 “Bankable 21” CEOs in Get Rich Carefully. She was voted by investors and analysts to Institutional Investor’s 2014, 2012 and 2011 “All American Executive Team” (top 3 REIT CEOs), selected as one of the Top 50 Women in World Business by the Financial Times, and named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare. Ms. Cafaro has also been named Female Leader of the Year by Commercial Property Executive, a Top 25 Women in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare, one of the Top 25 Women in Real Estate by Commercial Property Executive and one of the Women to Watch by Crain’s Chicago Business. Additionally, she has been named an Outstanding Woman by National Real Estate Investor magazine; a Woman of Influence by Real Estate Forum; Female Leader of the Year by Commercial Property News; and one of “50 Women to Watch” by the Wall Street Journal.
Ms. Cafaro is a former Chair of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT), the worldwide representative voice for REITs. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE: WY), where she chairs its Finance Committee and is a member of its Compensation Committee; the Board of Directors of the Real Estate Roundtable; the Board of Directors of the Executives’ Club of Chicago, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious business organizations; the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago; and World Business Chicago, Chicago’s not-for-profit economic development corporation.
Following her 1982-83 service as a judicial clerk to the Hon. J. Dickson Phillips, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Ms. Cafaro practiced real estate, corporate and finance law. She also taught real estate transactions and finance from 1988 to 1992 as an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University Law School. Prior to joining Ventas, Ms. Cafaro was President and a Director of Ambassador Apartments, Inc. (NYSE: AAH), a multifamily REIT.
Ms. Cafaro received her J.D. cum laude in 1982 from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was named its Distinguished Alumna in 2011 and currently serves on its Business Advisory Council and Visiting Committee, and her B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1979.