NU Online News Service, Jan. 8, 2004, 11:54 a.m. EST – North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, Durham, N.C., says James Speed Jr. has taken over as the company’s new president and chief executive officer.[@@]

Speed, who previously was the company’s chief financial officer, was the chief financial officer at Hardee’s Food Systems Inc., St. Louis, from 1997 to 2000. He succeeds Bert Collins, who has been North Carolina Mutual’s president since 1990. Collins is now the chairman, and Nathan Garrett, who has been the chairman, is now the chairman emeritus.

Speed has a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University and a master’s degree in business from Atlanta University. He holds the Certified Public Accountant professional designation.

North Carolina Mutual, which was founded in 1898, is the nation’s oldest and largest African-American life insurance company. It is licensed to operate in 22 states and the District of Columbia.