|Born||1956 (age 66–67)|
Kent Thiry (born 1956) is a Colorado-based philanthropist, entrepreneur, engaged citizen, and former healthcare executive. He currently serves as a director at the Thiry-O'Leary Foundation, which is involved in philanthropic initiatives across the globe.
As the former CEO and executive chair of DaVita Inc., Thiry is credited for taking the company from the brink of bankruptcy to a Fortune 500 kidney dialysis services provider. He is also known for uniquely altering DaVita’s corporate culture, making it more inclusive, democratic and diverse.
Thiry has been involved in Colorado and national politics, forming nonpartisan, or "tri-partisan" coalitions, to address a variety of political issues. He has founded or co-founded several nonprofits and organizations working to improve quality of life for people in Colorado and beyond, including Colorado Thrives, AdvanceEDU, The Energize Colorado Gap Fund, and The Aspen Group.
Early life and education
Thiry was born in 1956 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and grew up in the small town of Mequon. He holds a bachelor's degree in political science with honors from Stanford University. During his time there, Thiry was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He later earned his MBA with honors from Harvard Business School, graduating in 1983.
In his early career, Thiry worked as a consultant at Bain & Company, a global management consulting firm. In 1987, he became a partner in the firm and spent four years in this role. Thiry then joined Vivra, an NYSE healthcare service company, as president in 1991. A year later, he was appointed CEO. After Vivra was acquired by Gambro in 1997, Thiry served as chairman and CEO of Vivra Specialty Partners until 1999.
In 1999, Thiry became the CEO of DaVita Inc., a kidney dialysis services provider headquartered in Denver, Colorado. DaVita's stock had dropped 90% before he joined, and the company's employee turnover rate was around 40%. During Thiry's two-decade-long tenure at the company, DaVita's revenues soared from $1.4 billion in 2000 to $11.4 billion in 2020, when Thiry stepped down as executive chair. During the same period, DaVita's equity market value increased from $150 million to $9.2 billion. In addition, DaVita's number of dialysis centers across the country increased from 250 to 3,000.
While at DaVita, Thiry created over 30 philanthropic and local community service projects under a "Trilogy of Care" umbrella. The Village Green initiative to reduce the firm's environmental impact, along with other efforts, earned the company recognition as one of Newsweek’s Top Green Companies in the U.S. on multiple occasions. Under his leadership, DaVita was also awarded the 2018 Disabled American Veterans Outstanding Large Employer award and recognized as one of WorldBlu’s Most Freedom Centered Workplaces. Scholars at the business schools at Harvard and Stanford wrote case studies about Thiry's leadership at DaVita and his success in transforming the culture.
In 2020, Thiry retired as executive chair of DaVita and became an advisor to KKR & Co. He also founded and now serves as chair of AdvanceEDU, a hybrid college providing access to affordable degrees and certificates, in conjunction with an array of supportive services for low-income students.
Thiry is also a member of the board of SonderMind and focuses on philanthropy via the Thiry-O'Leary Foundation.
Philanthropy and Civic Engagement
Thiry has founded, co-founded, or held leadership positions at a number of nonprofits and other organizations in recent years:
- To enhance the fairness and representation of Colorado elections, he founded the nonpartisan nonprofit Let Colorado Vote winning four citizen ballot initiatives between 2016 and 2018.
- He was significant supporter of the success of a ballot proposal in 2019 that provided critical funding for Colorado's Water Plan, which covers water storage and climate change issues.
- As former chair of the Energize Colorado Gap Fund, he led efforts to gather more than $50 million for COVID relief grants to Colorado-based SMEs, with a special focus on those led by women, minorities, and veterans, as well as rural businesses.
- He and his wife, Denise, founded the Thiry-O'Leary Foundation in Denver.
- He co-founded The Aspen Group with former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Bill Frist to advance nonpartisan solutions to healthcare reform.
- He is a founding board member of Colorado Endeavor, an international entrepreneurial network.
- He previously served as a global board member of The Nature Conservancy, a national board member of The Trust for Public Land, and a member of the Harvard Business School Advisory Board.
Thiry is a keen outdoor enthusiast and devoted conservationist who loves backpacking and mountain biking. He and his wife, Denise, live in Colorado and have two adult children.
In the media