Kemper's Chief Needs A New Deal

THE COLLAPSE ON NOV. 20 of Conseco's proposed $2.7 billion deal to acquire Kemper puts David Mathis on the hot seat. Kemper's chairman fought off General Electric's unsolicited $60-a-share bid this spring, taking Conseco's offer of $67 instead. Now, Kemper's stock has dipped to about $40, and Mathis has hung a for-sale sign, vowing to "maximize shareholder value." It won't be easy: Tough market conditions have hurt Kemper's mutual-fund and brokerage businesses. Mathis faces investors at Kemper's annual meeting on Dec. 23. His plan to become CEO of Kemper National Insurance in March could be delayed.

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