Tom Watjen, who has led Unum since 2003, is retiring as CEO of Unum Group on May 21, the date of the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Chattanooga. He will become non-executive chairman of Unum’s board of directors.
Rick McKenney, executive vice president and CFO since 2009, will assume the role of president on April 1 and join the board. He will officially succeed Watjen as CEO on May 21.
“What an honor it has been to serve this great company, and to have had the opportunity to work with such remarkable people,” Watjen said. “Rick’s deep involvement with the business at all levels gives me tremendous confidence that Unum will continue to thrive under his leadership.”
Jack McGarry, president and CEO of the Closed Block, will succeed McKenney as chief financial officer.
Unum capped a strong 2014 with the release of fourth quarter financial results that exceeded Wall Street estimates and included increased sales and premium growth at levels not seen for some time.
The company reported fourth quarter operating income of $228.8 million after taxes, or 90¢ per share, compared with $223.8 million, or 85¢ per share, in the fourth quarter of 2013. For the full year, operating earnings grew nearly 7 percent to $3.55 per share, our highest level ever.
As we announced in December, we increased our Long Term Care reserves during the quarter to better reflect today’s extremely low interest rates. This move resulted in a net loss of $279.1 million, or $1.11 per share, for the quarter.
Unum US total sales increased 25 percent in the quarter and 21 percent for the full year, the highest they have been in more than a decade. Operating income declined slightly to $212.4 million as our strong premium growth of almost 6 percent and generally solid risk results were offset by the effects of lower interest rates.
In addition to Unum US results, here are some other highlights from the quarter: