Foundation of Wesley Woods Announces President and CEO's Retirement


The Foundation of Wesley Woods (FWW) announced the upcoming retirement of Mike Watson, President and CEO.  The announcement was made at the most recent FWW Board of Directors meeting to current and incoming board members. According to Dr. Jeff Lesesne, Chairman of the Board of Directors, “Mike provided tremendous leadership and vision which has helped the Foundation maintain its financial strength and continue to help thousands of older adults despite very tough economic times.” 

Mike has led the Foundation since 2008, adeptly navigating the Foundation through several years of recession.  Working with staff and volunteers, he led efforts to raise money for various capital improvements at Wesley Woods communities across North Georgia, including a very popular wellness center at Branan Towers which we hope to replicate in other communities. During his tenure, more than $5 million was distributed to residents for charitable care needs. In addition, he worked to raise the profile of Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s care and research through the annual Heroes, Saints & Legends Gala.

In Mike’s announcement, he shared, “Without a doubt, my time at Wesley Woods has been the most meaningful part of my career. I owe much to a dedicated, talented Staff as well as to many foundations and individual donors who shared in our passion for serving older adults.   Wesley Woods is a ministry that quickly grabs your heart and has allowed me to serve many of our “Greatest Generation” who are among the most wonderful people on earth. While I may be leaving my position, my devotion to Wesley Woods will always remain strong. My departure is consistent with my original plan to stay until we rebounded from the 2008 market collapse and minor health considerations have made that even more of a priority. I leave with the best of wishes for continued strength of the Foundation of Wesley Woods and will be assisting my successor in every transition activity that will ensure his/her success.”

The Board of Directors is actively engaged in looking for a replacement, and Mike will continue to lead the Foundation during the transition.  Wesley Woods Senior Living President and CEO, Kenneth Weber, added “Mike has played a key role in leading the fundraising efforts for Wesley Woods and will be missed as we continue to undergird our ministry in the coming years.” 

About Wesley Woods
Founded in 1954 by leaders of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church and Emory University, the Foundation of Wesley Woods partners with Wesley Woods Center and Emory Healthcare to help people age with grace, in seven campuses in North Georgia and the residential-medical complex on Clifton Road in Atlanta.

The Foundation of Wesley Woods is the connection point between the generosity of supporters in the community, and the practical, life-changing work for which Wesley Woods is respected and renowned. Through the Foundation of Wesley Woods, significant charitable care is extended to those whose assets have been consumed by medical bills or by simply outliving their savings. Millions of dollars a year are contributed for unreimbursed and charitable care. Just as importantly, the Foundation provides vital support for specific Wesley Woods’ programs, including some of the most consequential research initiatives underway anywhere in the world on geriatric health issues.  For additional information about Wesley Woods programs and services, please visit our website at

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