By Cyril Tuohy
Daniel P. Neary, chairman and CEO of Mutual of Omaha, will retire next year after a decade at the helm of Nebraska’s most well-known insurer, the company said.
Neary will retain the role of chairman of the Mutual of Omaha board of directors.
James T. Blackledge, former executive vice president, was appointed president last month and named to succeed Neary as CEO.
Neary, who joined Mutual of Omaha as an actuary, was appointed president of the company in August 2003 and named chairman and CEO in December 2004.
“I reached this decision after a great deal of personal reflection and thoughtful consultation with Mutual’s board of directors,” Neary said in a news release. “The time is right both personally and for the company.”
The company did not disclose Neary's exact departure date.
Under Neary, the company implemented a “core product strategy” that brought more focus to business lines, launched Mutual of Omaha Bank, delivered record earnings and grew policyholder surplus, the company said.
Last year, for example, the company launched group critical illness insurance. This year, it launched a portfolio of supplemental insurance to cover cancer, heart attacks and strokes, as well as group accident insurance.
In addition, Neary, who serves on numerous boards, pushed for major civic improvements in and around Omaha that raised the city’s profile, the company said.
Mutual of Omaha reported 2013 net income of $359.2 million on revenues of $6.6 billion, compared with net income of $283.8 million on revenues of $6.4 billion in 2012.
Neary said the company was well positioned for the future with Blackledge, also an actuary and a "keen strategist," taking the helm.
“James’ experience in leading the company’s information technology operation and in key strategic roles throughout his career make him uniquely qualified for this role,” Neary said.
Blackledge joined the company in 1989. He most recently served as executive vice president and chief information officer/chief risk officer, where he was responsible for technology applications and enterprise risk management.
Once in charge, Blackledge “will play a significant leadership role as we explore new ways to reach more people with our products and services, and to serve those customers efficiently and effectively,” Neary said.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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