Debra A. Cafaro is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Ventas, Inc., an S&P 500 company with an enterprise value of $37 billion that owns 1,300 healthcare and senior living properties in North America and the United Kingdom.
Under Ms. Cafaro’s leadership, begun in 1999, Ventas’s market capitalization rose to $26 billion from $200 million. The Company’s compound annual total shareholder return (TSR) has exceeded 27 percent since January 1, 2000.
In 2016, Forbes named Ms. Cafaro as one of the 100 “World’s Most Powerful Women” and first among Top-Performing Women CEOs, Ranked by Total Return. In 2015 and 2014, the Harvard Business Review recognized Ms. Cafaro as one of the top 50 “Best- Performing CEOs in the World.” She was named by GlobeSt.com as one of nine “Game-Changers” in commercial real estate since 2000, and by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of the “Most Powerful Women in Business.” CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer listed Cafaro as one of the “Bankable 21” CEOs in Get Rich Carefully. Cafaro was voted to Institutional Investor’s 2015, 2014, 2012 and 2011 “All American Executive Team,” selected as one of the “Top 50 Women in World Business” by the Financial Times and named thrice by Modern Healthcare as one of the “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare.”
Ms. Cafaro serves on the Executive Committee of the Boards of the Real Estate Roundtable and the Economic Club of Chicago. She is also a member of the Boards of University of Chicago, Chicago Infrastructure Trust, Executives’ Club of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and World Business Chicago. In 2010, Ms. Cafaro served as Chair of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT), the worldwide representative voice for REITs, where she was honored in 2014 with NAREIT’s Industry Leadership Award. She served on the Board of Directors of the Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE: WY) from 2007-2016 when it acquired Plum Creek. She is a member of the Business Council.
Prior to joining Ventas, Ms. Cafaro was President and a Director of Ambassador Apartments, Inc. (NYSE: AAH), a multifamily REIT. She also practiced real estate, corporate and finance law for 13 years following her 1982-83 judicial clerkship with the Hon. J. Dickson Phillips, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
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 her B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1979. She is married and has two children.