Horace Mann Educators Corp., the company that sells auto insurance to public-school employees, put Chief Executive Officer Louis Lower on leave after he was sentenced to 60 days in jail for driving under the influence.
“There are no excuses to offer other than a lapse of personal character,” Lower said in a statement today by the Springfield, Illinois-based insurer. “My promise is to learn from this extremely challenging period in my life.”
Lower was sentenced to serve time in a county jail after pleading guilty Sept. 8 to the driving offense, which involved a traffic accident in Florida at the end of the Memorial Day weekend in May, the insurer said. Chief Financial Officer Peter Heckman has been asked to serve as interim CEO.
The board of directors “was understandably dismayed by this situation, placed Mr. Lower on leave of absence and will be considering whether additional disciplinary actions are appropriate,” Chairman Gabriel Shaheen said in the statement. “In light of his exemplary service in the Springfield and insurance communities, his contrition and acceptance of full responsibility for his actions, and the fact that this is his first offense, he will return to his CEO responsibilities in late October or early November.”
Horace Mann sells auto and homeowners insurance and retirement products to school employees. The company gained about 42 percent this year in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.
Lower’s sentence was for 60 days, said Richard Madden, a spokesman for the company. The CEO graduated from Yale University in 1967 and has an MBA from Harvard University, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.