UnumProvident Corp. has replaced J. Harold Chandler, its chairman, president and chief executive officer.
Two outside directors, C. William Pollard and Lawrence Pugh, have taken over as co-chairmen.
Thomas Watjen, who was the companys chief operating officer, is now the interim president and CEO, and a search committee is looking for a permanent CEO.
The management change “was not driven by any specific event,” Pugh says.
But UnumProvident is hoping the change will help the company improve its financial position, Pugh adds.
Chandler, who started with the UnumProvident organization in 1993, as chairman of Provident Companies Inc., Chattanooga, Tenn., its current base, used acquisitions to turn Provident into UnumProvident, the biggest U.S. disability insurer.
Since Provident merged with a major competitor, UNUM Corp., Portland, Maine, in 1999, the combined company has reported uneven profits and come under fire for what some say is its aggressive approach to handling claims. This winter, talks with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about reporting of problems with low-rated securities led to the restatement of three years of earnings.