Ex-Ryman boss cashes in his chips for $9m

Simon Challies, former chief executive of Ryman Healthcare, standing in front of pictures of New Zealand personalities ...
DAVID WALKER/STUFF

Simon Challies, former chief executive of Ryman Healthcare, standing in front of pictures of New Zealand personalities whose names grace the company's retirement villages.

Former Ryman Healthcare chief executive Simon Challies has sold shares in the company worth just over $9 million.

Challies, 47, was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease 10 years ago and chose to retire last month as the effects of the condition began to become more apparent.

"it's time to spend more time with my family now. I have a son Sam who is 17, and my wife Tracey.

"I though I should sell some shares now because I don't know about the progress of the disease," Challies said, returning a call from Fiji where he is having a break. 

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He oversaw one of Ryman's biggest periods of growth as the company embarked on new ventures in Melbourne where it is also building retirement villages.

The Challies Family Trust sold 1 million shares at the current share price of $9.08 a share, while forfeiting 212,914 shares under the conditions of his employee share scheme. 

His trust retains another 699,360 shares worth approximately $6.3m. Challies said he did not intend to sell more in the immediate future

Ryman has 28 villages under its belt in New Zealand and two in Australia with more in the pipeline.

Under Challies' watch Ryman has raised employment standards for its staff, and was recently involved in a government initiative to lift wages.

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Although it has been at the forefront of village development over three decades, Challies and the new chief executive Gordon MacLeod have both predicted a future surge in retirement home living as more people reach retirement age.

Ryman operates management, and staff share purchase schemes and provides finance for them to buy the shares.

In a recent statement to the Stock Exchange it announced interest free loans to management staff for the 2017 year of up to $13m, repayable when the employee leaves the company or when the shares are sold.

The price is determined by the share price at the time.

The company has also allocated $1m for an employee scheme, in which each staff member contributes a minimum of $500 and up to a maximum of $10,000 towards the purchase of Ryman shares.

If a staff member contributes $1000 to purchase shares, then the company will lend a further $1000 up to a maximum of $10,000.

 - Stuff

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