Roger Eigsti, chairman and chief executive officer of SAFECO Corp,, today announced his intention to retire effective Dec. 31, 2000.
In addition, Randy Stoddard, president of SAFECO Property & Casualty companies, submitted his resignation effective immediately. In addition to his existing responsibilities, SAFECO president and chief operating officer, Boh Dickey, will assume Stoddard’s responsibilities as president of SAFECO’s largest business unit.
“We believe that a different style of leadership and executive involvement is required to restore SAFECO to its historic levels of profitability,” said William G. Reed Jr., who was appointed in May to serve as lead independent director for the SAFECO board of directors.
“The directors have been disappointed with SAFECO’s financial performance for several quarters. We expect SAFECO to be among the industry leaders in terms of financial performance,” Reed said. “SAFECO has a recovery plan in place and, recently, we have seen some encouraging signs of progress. However, overall results in the property & casualty companies fell below our expectations.”
“We are moving as quickly as possible to find a new chief executive officer, and we are looking at candidates both inside and outside the company,” Reed said, adding that Dickey is definitely a candidate to become Eigsti’s replacement. “We are confident in the ability of the management team to guide SAFECO during this important time.”
A committee of several non-management directors is leading the search for a new chief executive officer. The board will retain an executive search firm to assist in the process. “We’re extremely pleased that Roger has agreed to remain on board to help find his successor,” Reed said. “Roger has played a major role in transforming SAFECO from a West Coast insurance company to a diversified financial services company with a national reach. Roger has valuable insights on the type of leader who can put SAFECO back on top by tapping into the full potential of this company.”
Eigsti, 58, joined SAFECO in 1972 after spending eight years in public accounting. He was elected to the SAFECO board of directors in 1988. The following year, he was named president and chief operating officer. Eigsti has served as SAFECO’s chief executive officer since 1992, and chairman of the board since May 1993.
In 1997, Eigsti presided over the acquisition of American States Insurance, the largest acquisition in SAFECO’s history. Dickey, 55, joined SAFECO in 1982 following 16 years at Deloitte Haskins & Sells. He was named SAFECO’s chief financial officer in 1989, and elected to SAFECO’s board of directors in 1993. Since August 1996, he has served as SAFECO’s president and chief operating officer. Stoddard, 52, joined SAFECO in 1973. He was named president of the SAFECO Property & Casualty companies in 1996.
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