Unum in Solid Financial Position, CEO Watjen Tells Shareholders
Shareholders re-elect directors, approve the company’s executive compensation
and stock incentive plans
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- May 24, 2012
In his comments to shareholders at the company’s annual meeting today in
Portland, Maine, Unum (NYSE:UNM) CEO Thomas R. Watjen touted the company’s
performance despite a very difficult external environment and said the need
for what the company does has never been greater.
“In many respects, our ‘playbook’ hasn’t changed much from last year,” he
said. “We continue to have a focused approach on the business of providing
financial protection, and there’s no reason to change that.” In spite of the
sluggish employment and interest rate outlook, Watjen sees solid long-term
growth opportunities if the company continues to maintain discipline and
consistently execute its plan.
“The need for financial protection has never been greater than it is today
when so many are living paycheck to paycheck,” he added. “We offer that
protection through the workplace, which has consistently proven the best way
to reach those at middle and lower income levels in particular and protect
them against basic financial risks.”
Watjen said Unum was in financially sound, manageable businesses that are
capable of producing attractive returns and generating excess capital. “Over
the past four years, we have raised our common dividend by more than 70
percent and repurchased 20 percent of our stock – and unmatched record in our
Unum achieved operating earnings per share growth of 9.7 percent and the
company’s three- and five-year shareholder returns have outperformed industry
averages. Watjen said he has every reason to believe this performance is
“Like everyone, but particularly those operating in the financial services
sectors, we will continue to be tested,” he said. “We are confident, however,
in the direction we have set for the company and our ability to maintain our
momentum – momentum that we never lost in the financial crisis. In spite of
the difficult environment, we believe that we are well-positioned to continue
to create solid relative value for our shareholders.”
Executive Vice President and CFO Richard P. McKenney also addressed
shareholders at today’s meeting, pointing to the company’s significant
earnings growth and its solid financial foundation as evidence that the focus
on profitability and financial flexibility is working.
“Simply put, Unum has outperformed a wide cross-section of peers over the past
five years by consistently executing a strategy focused on disciplined,
profitable growth and prudent capital management,” McKenney said.
He added that the company maintains an unwavering commitment to underwriting
and pricing discipline. “We are pleased to hold leading market positions, but
we don’t chase market share at the expense of profitability. We will continue
to focus on generating the type of profitable growth that has benefited our
shareholders over the last several years.”
Like Watjen, McKenney pointed to stable and consistent financial results and
improving profitability as keys to Unum’s ability to return capital to its
shareholders through both dividend increases and share repurchases.
“These actions reflect our confidence that the business model that we have in
place will produce steady, consistent results,” he said. “As such, returning
capital to our shareholders will continue to be a steady source of value
Also at today’s meeting, Unum shareholders elected four directors to terms
expiring in 2015. They are: Pamela H. Godwin, president of Change Partners,
Inc.; Thomas Kinser, former president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of
Tennessee; A.S. (Pat) MacMillan, Jr., CEO of Triaxia Partners, Inc.; and
Edward J. Muhl, former national leader of PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ insurance
regulatory advisory practice.
Additionally, Unum shareholders voted in favor of the company’s executive
compensation plan and stock incentive plan of 2012.
ABOUT UNUM GROUP
Unum (www.unum.com) is one of the leading providers of financial protection
products and services offered through the workplace in the United States and
the United Kingdom.
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