Co-founder Kevin Hickman retiring, Geoffrey Cumming re-joining board
Ryman Healthcare co-founder Kevin Hickman is retiring from the board after more than 30 years.
Kevin Hickman and John Ryder founded Ryman in 1984 with $10,000 in capital each and the intention of building a company that provided the best of care for older people.
They listed Ryman on NZX in 1999 with a market capitalisation of $135 million, raising $25 million in capital.
The company is now the largest retirement village and aged care operator in New Zealand and has expanded into Victoria, Australia. Ryman operates 32 villages which provide homes for 10,600 residents, and the company employs 4,700 staff.
Ryman now has a market capitalisation of more than $5 billion and has paid out $690 million in dividends since 1999, and has never needed to go back to shareholders for more capital.
Kevin said he left the company in good heart.
“After 34 years I’ve decided the time is right to stand down, but I leave knowing that Ryman is in great hands under Gordon MacLeod’s leadership. I have complete faith in the team’s ability to continue with the same values and aspirations that the company has always had.’’
He added that it was his and his family’s intention to remain long term shareholders in the company.
Kevin thanked everyone involved with the company.
“A company is nothing without people. I’d like to thank the many thousands of residents and their families as well as loyal shareholders who have put their trust in us, along with the great team at Ryman who have made the company a success.
“As a leader you get lifted up by the people you employ. Or you get dropped pretty quickly. I’ve been lucky enough to work with many great people.’’
Ryman Healthcare Chairman Dr David Kerr thanked Kevin for his vision, leadership and huge contribution to Ryman over the past 34 years.
“There is no doubt that Ryman Healthcare would not be the company it is today without Kevin. He is one of New Zealand’s foremost entrepreneurs who saw an opportunity to build an ethical business to meet an important social need – the care of older people.
“His founding philosophy – that Ryman’s care had to be good enough for mum – remains our core principle today. He always put residents first, he sought to raise the bar in terms of care and the quality of our villages and he’s had a profound impact on improving quality of life for generations of older people.
“Kevin always led by example and invested in developing people. Not only did he create a special company with a great model, he ensured it was always in good hands. We thank him and we wish him all the best in his retirement.’’
Kevin Hickman ran the company jointly with John Ryder until July 2002. He was managing director until July 2006, when he handed over the company to its second generation of leaders. He has served as a non-executive director since then and his family interests have retained a substantial shareholding in Ryman.
In 2016 Kevin’s services to aged care and sport were recognised when he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Geoffrey Cumming said he was excited to be returning to the board. He will succeed Kevin from June 1.
Mr Cumming has been a substantial long-term shareholder in Ryman Healthcare.
He was a director prior to Ryman listing on the NZX in 1999, and stood down from the board in 2000. He has been a New Zealand citizen for more than 20 years.
“I’ve had a long association with Ryman and I am delighted to be re-joining the board,’’ Mr Cumming said.
“For me, there is no other company anywhere in the world as special as Ryman.
“Ryman fulfils a critical social purpose of caring wonderfully for older people, whilst creating excellent careers for staff. At the same time, it has provided an outstanding and steady long-term investment return for shareholders.’’