Chicago Tribune Praises Business Leadership Skills of Debra Cafaro '82

In early 2007, Debra Cafaro '82 and her staff at Ventas, a health care real estate investment trust, had just announced a nearly $2 billion acquisition when a competitor swooped in to try to upend the deal. Ventas prevailed, but it took months.

Within a couple of weeks of closing that deal, Cafaro raised $1.1 billion — cash that saw Ventas through the worst of the financial crisis. She had spotted troubling signs in the subprime mortgage market and insisted on acting fast.

From mid-2007 through 2009, she put the company on the defensive, selling assets, increasing lines of bank credit and raising more money. The conservative strategy paid off, and, in 2010, Cafaro resumed deal-making.

Ventas' stock, which bottomed at about $18 per share in December 2008, now trades at about $53.