WEST DES MOINES, IOWA — Homesteaders Chairman-President Graham J. Cook announced in a news release published March 1 that preparations are underway for his transition from day-to-day management of the company.
“As part of the succession plan approved by our Board of Directors, Steve Lang will become our company’s ninth president following the annual board meeting in February 2014,” Cook said. “Steve and I have worked together to develop a management team that will ensure Homesteaders maintains its market leadership position and will remain on its trajectory of profitable growth.”
Lang was also elected to his first term as a member of the Homesteaders board.
Cook, who will remain on the board serving as chairman through 2014, joined the company as a part-time employee in 1966, while attending college.
He has worked in some capacity in nearly every functional area at Homesteaders.
A respected and influential pre-need industry executive, Lang was CEO of Forethought Financial Services until 2006, shortly after its parent sold the company. He was attracted to Homesteaders because he respected Cook and the many accomplishments under his leadership.
“Graham has established a strong culture and work ethic here at Homesteaders, a firm commitment to customer success, and I am convinced we are the best choice for funeral homes in terms of solutions, superior service and long-term security,” he said.
Lang joined Homesteaders as Executive Vice President responsible for sales, marketing and customer service in 2008, and was named Homesteaders’ chief operating officer in March 2010.
Lang and Cook have worked to refine and focus the company’s mission and strategy.
“As a result of this collaboration,” Lang said, “I am firmly committed to our direction and expect a continuity of purpose.”
Cook also announced that Steve W. Pick has been appointed to succeed Glen Hare as CFO effective April 1.
Hare, who announced his retirement plans last year, joined Homesteaders in 1977 and has guided Homesteaders through an era of significant asset growth and improvements in all key financial ratios. He will remain with Homesteaders until he retires in December to ensure a successful transition while also overseeing enterprise risk management.
Pick is a veteran financial executive who spent 20 years with Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, Iowa, with his last 10 years serving as CFO for one of their member companies. His most recent post was CFO of Alliance Commercial Partners in Denver.
“I feel confident that Homesteaders is well-positioned to grow and evolve long into its second century,” Cook said. “We have developed the next generation of leaders and we definitely have the right people in place to keep the company strong, maintain our values, and hold true to the long-term commitment we have to our policy owners, customers and employees.”
When asked what changes may be expected under his management, Lang was very clear. “Of course, I am a different person than Graham. Our leadership styles are different. But we have worked side-by-side to ensure the company maintains its commitment to funeral home owners and our partners. We will continue to seek input from our customers and partners so that we can offer solutions to their needs. Most important, we will maintain focus on improving our processes and evaluating opportunities that keep Homesteaders strong so that we can keep our promises to policy owners long into the future.”
Homesteaders’ senior management will ensure a smooth transition of leadership and is committed to keeping customers and other stakeholders informed throughout the process.
“During the past year we have made several adjustments to our executive leadership team including customer service, information services and legal/compliance,” Cook said. “We communicated the moves and new hires, and will continue to keep our stakeholders informed as we put the next generation of company leaders in place.”
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