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Leadership

What happens when you combine considerable professional experience with a belief that every interaction is an opportunity for meaningful, engaging connection? You get our leadership team. Each individual brings skills and talents honed over decades, and a commitment to providing exceptional communities. Together, they form a collaborative team focused on meeting resident needs and improving the quality of life for everyone at Five Star.

Leading the Way

Jeffrey Leer

Jeffrey Leer

President and Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Leer is President and Chief Executive Officer of AlerisLife, for which he had previously served as Chief Financial Officer. Prior to joining AlerisLife, Mr. Leer served as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Office Properties Income Trust and as Senior Vice President of The RMR Group LLC, where he has been responsible for the day to day oversight of the accounting and finance support functions of The RMR Group and its various affiliates. Previously, Mr. Leer held various accounting and finance positions at several multi-national Fortune 500 companies as well as the public accounting firm, Vitale, Caturano PC (predecessor to RSM). Mr. Leer is also a certified public accountant.

Zehra Abid-Wood

Senior Vice President, Strategy & Transformation
Zehra Abid-Wood has served in various roles since first joining the Five Star division in 2010, including as Head of Sales, Marketing and Brand, Chief of Staff and Senior Director of the IT Project Management Office. In her current role as Senior Vice President, Strategy & Transformation, Zehra leads the team that asks the organization key strategic questions and then turns those answers into transformational plans: innovation roadmaps, M&A initiatives, organizational measurement and change, early-stage incubation, and a continuous culture of curiosity and evolution. She values being part of shaping the future of aging and, more broadly, community. Zehra’s experience includes strategy and technology consulting with the Exeter Group and the establishment of a project and portfolio management office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Zehra studied for a year at the University of Oxford and graduated magna cum laude from Williams College with a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science and English.
Heather Pereira

Heather Pereira

Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
Ms. Pereira is Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of AlerisLife. Prior to joining AlerisLife, Ms. Pereira served as Vice President and Corporate Controller of Acushnet Holdings Corp. since May of 2017 and previously held various accounting and finance roles at the company, which she joined in 2004. Ms. Pereira has over 20 years of accounting and finance experience and holds a Master’s degree in Accountancy and Masters of Business Administration from Northeastern University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College.
Michael Lopez

Michael Lopez

Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer
Michael Lopez joined AlerisLife in 2022 in the role of Chief People Officer, responsible for architecting a talent strategy to support brand expansion and leading the entire Human Resources function. Prior to Five Star and AlerisLife, Michael led the HR teams at Royal Caribbean International and Athleta, as well as served in senior HR positions at Starbucks and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Michael shares the Five Star and AlerisLife value of putting people first, informed by his depth of experience in leadership development, organizational effectiveness and service culture. A Connecticut native, he is also an avid fitness, health and adventure travel enthusiast.
Vijay Moses

Vijay Moses

Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Vijay Moses joined AlerisLife in 2022 in the role of General Counsel. Previously, he served as vice president, general counsel and secretary at J.Jill Inc. Before J.Jill, Vijay was with Samsonite Inc., where he served as vice president and general counsel of the Americas. He also has been an associate general counsel with National Amusements Inc., which owns controlling interests in Viacom and CBS. Vijay began his legal career with Foley Hoag in Boston, where he worked in its Labor/Employment and Litigation Departments. Vijay grew up in Connecticut and is a graduate of Yale University and the Georgetown University Law Center.
Phil Benjamson

Philip Benjamson

Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Benjamson is Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of AlerisLife. He has over 25 years of leadership experience in the senior living, hospitality and multifamily industries and most recently served as Vice President of Senior Housing Operations for Trinity Health Senior Communities. Previously, Mr. Benjamson was the Chief Operating Officer at Resort Lifestyle Communities from 2018 to 2021 and the Chief Operating Officer at Blake Management Group from 2016 to 2018. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Development from the University of California, Davis.
Stephen Geiger

Stephen Geiger

Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer
Stephen Geiger joined the Five Star division in January 2021 and was promoted to Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer in August 2021. Prior to Five Star, Stephen served as the Senior Vice President of External Reporting and Accounting Policy for The CIT Group for 11 years. Prior to that he worked at the audit firm KPMG LLP for 22 years, including the last nine years as an assurance partner. Stephen has a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Accounting from James Madison University and is a certified public accountant.
James Kotarski

James Kotarski

Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Jim Kotarski joined the leadership team as Vice President of IT and CIO for our Five Star division. He came from Avid Technology, a media, audio/video firm, where he served as the business information officer. Before that, Jim was director of global enterprise applications for cybersecurity firm Rapid7. He started his career in the financial services industry at Oppenheimer. Jim holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Merrimack College and earned his MBA at Babson College.
Susan Dooley

Susan Dooley

Vice President, Marketing
Susan joined Aleris Life in 2022 after a short sabbatical from leadership roles across numerous industries in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It was during this time that she navigated senior living options for her aging mother. This first-hand experience has become Susan’s driving force to help others understand and appreciate all that Aleris Life has to offer. Susan's marketing acumen was honed at some of the top brands in the footwear and apparel categories. Most recently, Susan was Senior Vice President of Global Marketing for The Rockport Group. She has also lead marketing for Saucony, Clarks and Sperry-Topsider. Beyond shoes, Susan was Vice President of Marketing for Airstream, Chief Marketing Officer at Renovia and Chief Development and Marketing Officer for a non-profit organization dedicated to adults with disabilities. Susan graduated from the University of New Hampshire where she was a member of its NCAA Champion lacrosse team. A life-long learner, she has recently earned executive education certificates from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern and Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Jennifer B. Clark

Jennifer B. Clark

Secretary
Jennifer Clark serves as Secretary for AlerisLife. She is also Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of The RMR Group Inc. and The RMR Group LLC and is a member of the RMR Executive Operating Committee. Jennifer has been a Managing Director of RMR since 2018. She is responsible for all legal matters affecting the RMR managed companies. Jennifer is also the Secretary of all RMR-managed companies and serves on the boards of Diversified Healthcare Trust (Nasdaq: DHC), Five Star Senior Living (Nasdaq: FVE) and Sonesta International Hotels Corporation (private). In addition, she serves as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Tremont Realty Advisors LLC, a wholly owned, SEC-registered investment adviser subsidiary of RMR acquired in 2016. Before joining RMR in 1999, Jennifer was a partner at the law firm of Sullivan & Worcester LLP, where she had a broad-based real estate practice, including representing secured lenders, borrowers, joint venture partners and investors in loans and leveraged transactions. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and American Literature from Brandeis University and a Juris Doctor from Boston University Law School.
Vern D. Larkin

Vern D. Larkin

Director of Internal Audit
Vern Larkin is the Director of Internal Audit for The RMR Group Inc. (Nasdaq: RMR). He also serves as Director of Internal Audit for all of the publicly traded companies managed by RMR, including Five Star Senior Living Inc. (Nasdaq: FVE), Service Properties Trust (Nasdaq: SVC), Diversified Healthcare Trust (Nasdaq: DHC), Office Properties Income Trust (Nasdaq: OPI), Industrial Logistics Properties Trust (Nasdaq: ILPT), Tremont Mortgage Trust (Nasdaq: TRMT), TravelCenters of America Inc. (Nasdaq: T.A.), and RMR Mortgage Trust (Nasdaq: RMRM). Vern also serves as Chief Compliance Officer and Director of Internal Audit for Tremont Realty Advisors LLC, a wholly owned, SEC-registered investment adviser subsidiary of RMR acquired in 2016. He was previously employed by Five Star as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, as well as by RMR as a Senior Vice President, until 2012. Before joining Five Star and RMR in 2011, Vern practiced law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP for over 10 years. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut School of Law.
Alex Foster

Alex Foster

Divisional Vice President
Alex Foster joined Five Star as Divisional Vice President in 2020. Mr. Foster has extensive experience in operations, including from his executive leadership roles at Atria Senior Living and Allegro Residences. Mr. Foster began his career overseeing operations for multi-unit retail companies. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Northeastern University.
Melinda Skirvin

Melinda Skirvin

Divisional Vice President
Melinda Skirvin joined Five Star in 2005 as Executive Director of Park Summit in Coral Springs, Florida. Since then, Ms. Skirvin has served as the Regional Director of Operations and was promoted to Divisional Vice President in 2018. She has more than 30 years of successful experience in all facets of senior healthcare and senior living services and has a passion for older adults and the team members who serve them. Ms. Skirvin earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Florida State College-Jacksonville.