WoodmenLife President & CEO Larry King has announced his retirement, effective March 2017. The WoodmenLife National Board of Directors has appointed Pat Dees as President & CEO, effective March 2017.
A Legacy of Accomplishment
Larry’s story is one of hard work and the power of possibility. In 1974, Larry King was teaching science, health and physical education at a small school in Brooksville, KY, when he added a part-time career. By 1982, his part-time position was bringing in triple what his teaching job was, and … fast forward a couple of decades and King became President & CEO of that $10.7 billion company.
It all began when King found a career with WoodmenLife; King would often speak to Home Office associates about his humble beginnings. When a local manager approached him about a career, he was teaching during the day, driving a school bus mornings and afternoons and helping his father on the family dairy and tobacco farm … all to provide the income his family needed.
“When I learned about the WoodmenLife opportunity, I thought ‘this is something I can make work,’” King said. He and his wife, Sandy, were living in a small mobile home on the family farm at the time, and they had been looking for ways to buy a new home. They signed a contract to buy a lot the same week he signed his WoodmenLife contract, building a new home later that year.
Working part time, King’s WoodmenLife income began to far exceed his teaching income. So in 1982, he took on a full-time career with WoodmenLife. But King never ceased being a teacher, being promoted to Recruiting Sales Manager in eastern Kentucky, recruiting and mentoring new Representatives; then as Regional Director in Tennessee East and Georgia South, before coming to the Home Office in 2006 and taking on the role of National Sales Manager.
King went on to hold a number of management positions within the Sales Division, as well as on the Boards of nonprofits in the Omaha area. He was appointed President & CEO of WoodmenLife in October 2012. He was named Chairman of the Board in July 2013.
Under Larry’s leadership, WoodmenLife:
- Successfully rolled out a company-wide rebranding campaign, positioning WoodmenLife for the future and uniting more than 900 chapters, 1,100 Sales Representatives and 700,000 members behind one brand identity.
- Launched a new member website via which members can access their own product details and update personal information 24/7.
- Released several innovative products and developed new strategies for reaching small business owners with ways to help employees purchase voluntary life insurance and retirement solutions.
- Achieved clarification of the property tax code as it relates to fraternal benefit societies, and gained equal treatment and protection under the law for WoodmenLife to achieve a property tax exemption that was on par with other not-for-profits in Nebraska through the passing of Nebraska Legislative Bill 414.
- Further positioned the WoodmenLife Tower as a Midwest institution through extensive building renovations and frequent lighting of the iconic Tower to raise awareness for various charities and causes.
- Continued to demonstrate financial strength and stability by showing growth in assets, surplus, insurance in force, and other key categories during a difficult period in the industry.
“What happened to me … moving from teaching to a successful career and eventually, to the presidency with WoodmenLife, could happen to anybody that wants to work hard and work smart,” King said.
Please join us in thanking Larry for his years of service to WoodmenLife, and congratulating Larry King for his retirement. We’re sure he’ll spend a lot more time with his wife, Sandy, as well as golfing, watching his beloved Kentucky Wildcats, and playing with his five grandchildren.