Jan. 5, 2016, Kennett Square, Pa.— Kendal Corporation Board Chair Joan Countryman has announced that Sean M. Kelly succeeded John Diffey as Kendal’s President and CEO on Jan. 1, 2016. Kelly has served as Kendal’s Director for New Business Development since 2008. Diffey, a highly respected leader for the Kendal System and widely recognized within the larger field of aging services, served more than two decades as Kendal’s chief executive.
With headquarters in the southeastern Pennsylvania/metro Philadelphia area, Kendal is among the 10 largest not-for-profit senior living organizations in the nation. During Diffey’s tenure, Kendal has grown significantly while maintaining its reputation for quality and innovation. Diffey notified the Kendal Board in March of his plans to retire in 2016.
“I am thrilled with the Board’s selection of Sean,” Diffey said. “Sean and I are committed to working closely together to orchestrate a smooth transition during this particularly healthy stage in the Kendal System’s history.”
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue building on the foundation that John, Corporate staff, Affiliate and Corporate board and staff members, and Kendal’s residents have created over the last 40-plus years,” Kelly said. “I’m also quite aware that we are moving into a very dynamic era when we will face challenges along with important opportunities. Over its history, Kendal has led through times of great change. Today we have the capacity and the will to meet those same standards for leadership, integrity, quality and innovation that have shaped Kendal’s identity so beautifully.“
While at Kendal, Kelly has been responsible for leading and managing organizational efforts aimed at fostering new opportunities for growth, while supporting planning and development initiatives for existing Kendal communities. Kelly himself is well known in the aging services field and has been a frequent speaker around the country, and beyond, on numerous topics.
In a letter to the Kendal Community announcing that Kelly would assume leadership of the Kendal System Jan. 1, Board Chair Joan Countryman noted that Diffey will stay on part-time while Kelly builds elements of Kendal’s new leadership team in the corporate office. Kendal currently is recruiting for a Corporate CFO and will be recruiting successor leadership following the retirements of Director for Marketing and Public Relations Bill Silbert and Director for Outreach Beryl Goldman, each of whom will retire in June of 2016.
“Through the entire process, John, The Kendal Corporation Board, the Search Committee and Sean have played instrumental leadership roles in making this transition as thoughtfully and carefully implemented as possible,” Countryman noted. “This transition has been open with respect to its outcome, transparent, well-communicated and ultimately as constructive as possible for the future health and vitality of Kendal.”
Kelly joined Kendal in 2008 after 11 years with Connecticut-based Retirement Living Services — a development, finance, marketing and operations consultant to senior housing and service providers throughout the United States. In 1992, Kelly graduated from Ursinus College in Collegeville with a bachelor’s degree in international relations, and in 2014 he completed an Advanced Management Program at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He will continue to live in Haddonfield, New Jersey, with his wife, Susan, and three young daughters, where they will remain very active in and around their community.
The work on identifying Diffey’s successor was led by The Kendal Corporation’s Board of Directors, which established a special Search Committee in March. The Search Committee was comprised of seven Kendal Board members, including four who serve on Kendal Affiliate Boards. Board member Harry Hammond, a Kendal-Crosslands Communities resident, chaired the Search Committee, and Wanda Whitted-Smith, Director for Human Resources, provided critical staff support.
Kendal-affiliated retirement communities are located in Hanover, New Hampshire; Ithaca and Sleepy Hollow, New York; Northampton and Easthampton, Massachusetts; Lexington, Virginia; metro Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Kennett Square, West Chester and Newtown, Pennsylvania; and Oberlin, Ohio. Kendal at Home, based in suburban Cleveland, combines the security of a continuing care retirement community with the freedom and independence of living at home.
Posted by Larry Elveru