With the retirement of Carroll Campbell Jr. under extremely sad circumstances, the American Council of Life Insurers is in the midst of a search for a new president.
Selection of a president is, certainly, one of the most important decisions a trade association can make. That person becomes, in effect, the public face and personality of the membership.
The president interacts with lawmakers, regulators, agents and consumers in a way that may define how these different interest groups view the industry.
That is why we hope that ACLI will select a new president who can reach out to these different constituencies and be seen as a unifying force.
This should not be construed as criticism of Campbells tenure. To the contrary, he had some major accomplishments as ACLIs president.
During his presidency, life insurers took a leading role in the most significant financial services legislation in more than 50 years–the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act–and were able to achieve parity with banks following a series of court decisions that relegated the industry to second class status.
That was a major achievement that helped secure the competitive standing of the industry.
It was also during Campbells tenure that ACLI launched its regulatory modernization initiative. Not only did this put optional federal chartering front and center on the Congressional agenda, it helped spur the states and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to work seriously on regulatory reform.
But it is also fair to say that when Campbell first came to ACLI, he was widely viewed as a partisan political figure who aspired to return to elective office at some point.