Courtesy of AHCA/NCAL

Mark Parkinson, the nursing home industry’s most influential spokesman, has announced he will retire as president and CEO of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living next January.

Considered a “unicorn” for his unique blend of business and political background — buttressed by street credibility as a former facility operator — Parkinson’s announcement had been expected in inner circles for months.

He successfully led the battered sector through some of its most harrowing days during the COVID-19 pandemic. But he had made it known to colleagues that he did not expect to renew his contract for another term, providing a soft landing for his successor. The former governor of Kansas first stepped into the top AHCA role in January 2011.

“My overwhelming emotion is gratitude,” Parkinson said Feb. 20. “These have been the most important and rewarding years of my professional life.”