Mutual CEO Dan Neary Announces Retirement Plans; Blackledge Named President and Successor
Neary Led Mutual of Omaha Through Most Successful Decade in Company’s 105-year History
OMAHA, Neb., November 21, 2014 – Mutual of Omaha Chairman and CEO Dan Neary has announced that he will retire as Mutual of Omaha’s Chief Executive Officer in 2015. He will retain the role of Chairman of the Mutual of Omaha Board of Directors.
The Board today appointed Executive Vice President James T. Blackledge as President, and named him to succeed Neary as CEO upon Neary’s retirement. Blackledge most recently served as the company’s Chief Information/Chief Risk Officer.
Named Chairman and CEO in December 2004, Neary led Mutual of Omaha through the most successful decade in the company’s 105-year history, returning record profits and building on the company’s solid financial strength through one of the most challenging economic periods in the nation’s history.
“I reached this decision after a great deal of personal reflection and thoughtful consultation with Mutual’s Board of Directors. The time is right both personally and for the company,” Neary said. “I am very confident about Mutual of Omaha’s future. The company is well positioned to continue its record of success, thanks to an excellent leadership team and the hard work and commitment of associates throughout the organization.”
Blackledge, who joined Mutual as an actuary in 1989, most recently served as Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer/Chief Risk Officer, where he had responsibility for the company’s technology applications and systems infrastructure as well as enterprise risk management. He previously held leadership roles in the company’s Individual Financial Services and Group Benefit Services business units.
Neary said Blackledge’s appointment is the culmination of the Board’s thoughtful and diligent process to identify his successor.
“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. “James is a keen strategist with an eye toward the future. He 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. I look forward to working closely with him in the months ahead to ensure a smooth transition.”
Neary’s tenure as CEO signaled a new era at the company. Under his leadership, Mutual of Omaha:
- Transformed underutilized property into Midtown Crossing at Turner Park, a residential/retail development that has re-energized Midtown Omaha.
- Implemented a core product strategy that brought focus to business lines that offer the greatest potential for the company.
- Launched Mutual of Omaha Bank, one of the fastest-growing banks in the nation.
- Achieved record earnings and steady growth in policyholder surplus while maintaining employment for thousands through the Financial Crisis and Great Recession.
- Created the Mutual of Omaha Foundation to ensure that the company’s positive impact on the Omaha community continues in perpetuity.
- Took a leadership role in numerous citywide initiatives that raised Omaha’s profile and enhanced quality of life.
Neary joined Mutual of Omaha as an actuary and went on to hold a number of key management positions within the group insurance area. He was appointed president of Mutual of Omaha in August 2003. He was named chairman and CEO in December 2004.
Neary is a member of the boards of directors of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP); American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI); Valmont Industries, Inc.; Creighton University; and the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce. His community service includes membership on the U.S. Strategic Command Consultation Committee; Boy Scouts of America – Mid-America Council; Lauritzen Gardens; the Advisory Council for Habitat for Humanity; the Father Flanagan’s Boys Home (Boys Town) board of trustees; and the boards of directors for the Omaha Zoological Society; Heritage Services; Strategic Air & Space Museum and the United Way of the Midlands.
Mutual of Omaha is a full-service, multi-line organization providing insurance, banking and financial products for individuals, businesses and groups throughout the United States.