NU Online News Service, Sept. 17, 2004, 5:23 p.m. EDT

Allen Wise, the president of Coventry Health Care Inc., Bethesda, has decided to retire from that post at the end of the year.[@@]

Dale Wolf, the company’s chief financial officer, will succeed Wise Jan. 1, 2005, Coventry says.

After Wise retires as president, he will take over from John Austin as “non-executive chairman” of Coventry, and Austin will continue to serve on the Coventry board, Coventry says.

Coventry executives say they planned the transition more than a year ago. Since Wise became president of Coventry 8 years ago, he has increased the company’s membership to 2.5 million, from 866,000, and its annual revenue to $5.3 billion, from $1 billion, the company says.