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Bill Lester to Succeed JoAnn Martin at Ameritas

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Ameritas Mutual Holding Company says William Lester will take over from JoAnn Martin as the company’s chief executive officer Jan. 10.

Martin has been the CEO of the Lincoln, Nebraska-based mutual insurer since 2009, and she recently ended a one-year term as chair of the American Council of Life Insurers.

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Lester, her successor, is now the president and chief operating officer of Ameritas Mutual Holding Company and of the mutual holding company’s Ameritas Holding Company subsidiary.

Martin will continue to be an Ameritas director, and she will continue to serve as a vice chair on the company’s board, Ameritas announced Monday.

Martin said in a statement about her retirement from the CEO post that the opportunity to lead Ameritas has been a privilege. “We have a strong team, and I believe in Bill’s vision,” Martin said in the statement. “Together, we are setting the right future path.”

The ACLI put out a statement saying it was honored to have Martin serve as its chair this past year. “We’re thankful for all she’s done to help move the industry forward,” the ACLI said.


Ameritas is descended from a company founded in 1887. It reported $234 million in net income in 2018 on $2.4 billion in revenue.

The company sells a wide range of products, including dental insurance, disability insurance, retirement plans, life insurance, investment products, and fixed, variable and indexed annuities.

JoAnn Martin

Martin has a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Nebraska and a master’s degree in business from Colorado State University. She holds the Certified Public Accountant and Fellow of Life Management Institute (FLMI) professional designations.

She began working for Ameritas as an internal audit manager in 1984, when the company was known as Bankers Life Nebraska.

She became chief financial officer in 2001, and CEO in 2009.

Ameritas has acquired Acacia Life Insurance Company, the Union Central Life Insurance Company and other carriers over the years.

Martin led an Ameritas rebranding effort in 2012.

In addition to serving as ACLI chair, Martin was board chair of the University of Nebraska Foundation. She continues to serve on the MDRT Foundation honorary board of trustees.

Bill Lester

Bill Lester has a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

He holds the Certified Financial Analyst and FLMI designations.

He began working for Ameritas in 1983, as a securities analyst with an investment advisors unit.

In addition to working for Ameritas, Lester is board chair at Bryan Health. He is a board member of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and is a trustee of the University of Nebraska Foundation.

— Read Ameritas Names President And Accounting Chiefon ThinkAdvisor.

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