Miller To Step Down As Chairman And Ceo Of Provident Mutual

Posted: March 20, 1991

After 18 years at Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co., John A. Miller said yesterday he was stepping down as chairman and chief executive officer, starting this summer.

Miller, 63, made the announcement at the company's 126th annual meeting in Philadelphia, company officials said. Miller said it was time for management to begin making a "logical and smooth" transition.

Miller will relinquish his CEO title - a position he has held for 13 years - on June 30 to L.J. "Bud" Rowell Jr., Provident Mutual's president and chief operating officer.

However, Miller said he would remain chairman until June 1992. He has held that position since 1984.

In explaining the timing of his move, Miller noted his age - he will turn 64 in June - and his wishes for a steady, unhurried transition that would bring no surprises.

"There is, already in place, a wonderfully strong and capable team of executives who can and will move this great company into a new era," Miller said. "Leading that team is president and chief operating officer Bud Rowell."

Rowell joined Provident Mutual in 1980 after a long career with Mutual of New York. He became executive vice president the same year, president in 1984 and chief operating officer in 1987.

Miller, a graduate of Columbia University, joined Provident Mutual in 1972, after 14 years with the Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association. He developed a five-year plan for Provident Mutual that culminated with more than $800 million in new sales in 1976.

As of last year, the company had 325,894 policies, which represented about $16.6 billion of insurance in force. The company had 1990 net income of $20.7 million, up from $229,000 in 1989. Profits were depressed in 1989 because the company had shed some non-insurance operations and raised its dividend by $6 million.

Miller leaves Provident Mutual at a time when the insurance industry is under growing pressure from Congress to establish uniform solvency standards to replace a patchwork of state regulations. A recent industry report concluded that 20 percent of all life-insurance companies could go under if a major recession occurred.

Miller said yesterday that he supported the effort to create some uniform standards for insurance companies. Weak firms may be hurt by such rules, he said, but strong companies would benefit.

"I have said to people for many years that the long-term survival of an insurance company is more important that the survival of almost any other organization," Miller said. "We are making very long-term promises, so solvency and the quality of assets are extremely important."

Miller said he would continue to be active in various Philadelphia civic groups after he left Provident Mutual. He also will continue to serve on the company's board of directors.

"I probably will do some lecturing, and I may well do some teaching," he said. "I've got a lot to do. There is not going to be any lack of activity."

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