Winston-Salem, N.C.-based BB&T said that H. Wade Reece, chairman and CEO of BB&T Insurance Holdings Inc., will retire at the end of the year.
Reece will complete a 37-year career with BB&T in which BB&T Insurance Holdings has grown through acquisitions to be the fifth largest insurance broker in the U.S. with more than $1.7 billion in revenue in 2014.
John Howard, vice chairman and CEO of the Wholesale and Specialty Division of BB&T Insurance Holdings, will succeed Reece.
Reece joined the BB&T management development program in 1978, and after completing the training, served on the banking side of BB&T as city executive for Wallace, Lexington, Fayetteville and city executive and area manager for Gastonia, N.C.
But Reece found his niche at the helm of BB&T Insurance Services in Raleigh. In 1990, he was charged with making BB&T’s struggling insurance division profitable. At that time, BB&T Insurance Services had revenues of $6 million.
Today, he looks back on an agency acquisition program that includes more than 100 agencies and brokerages and has resulted in a diversified income stream.
“I never dreamed BB&T Insurance Services would evolve into what it is today,” Reece said. “It’s been an incredible experience and a lot of fun. I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the most talented individuals in our industry and for a rare company that has always emphasized values and integrity.”
Outside the office, Reece serves as vice chairman of the Foundation of Agency Management Excellence (FAME) board of directors and as a past chairman of the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Institutes (American Institute for CPCU and Insurance Institute of America) where he is also a past chairman of the board of trustees. He also is an honorary campaign cabinet member for Appalachian Theater.
Reece, who is a member of the North Carolina Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, an ambassador for Land for Tomorrow and Trout Unlimited and works with the Blue Ridge Conservancy and Preservation North Carolina, plans to spend much of his retirement with his family as well as catching “rainbows” in any number of trout streams.
Recce’s successor as CEO, Howard, brings 20 years of brokerage, underwriting, and executive management experience to his new role. He joined BB&T in 2012 with the acquisition of Crump Group Inc., where he served as president and CEO.
“One thing I’ve learned through the years is success always comes down to relationships that are developed through knowledge, expertise and shared values,” Howard said. “I think that’s been one of Wade’s real strengths, and I plan to continue to build upon that legacy he has built at BB&T Insurance.”
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