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USAA has a new leader

Updated on September 20, 2014


USAA history

USAA (United Services Automobile Association) has humble beginnings in San Antonio, Texas. Founded by a small group of military officers in 1922, with the initial purpose of establishing auto insurance for their vehicles. USAA has grown into a leading financial services organization with a global reach. The company offers many financial products such as insurance, banking services and wealth management for millions of members, primarily focusing on military families.

USAA is preparing for a change of leadership and recently announced via press release on August 28, 2014 that the new CEO will be Stuart Parker. Parker will be taking over the reins of the company effective in February 2015 from the current CEO General Joe Robles, who will be retiring.

Stuart Parker is a home-grown leader, having worked his way up from his start in the company as a financial planner in 1998 then moving on to assume various corporate assignments and titles. He led the property and casualty insurance division from 2007 to 2012 and more recently held the title of chief financial officer, CFO, from 2012 to 2014.

It was my pleasure to work with Stuart Parker on many occasions during my employment with USAA, and I concur with the decision to promote him to CEO.

USAA Membership and Products

The membership eligibility for USAA includes U.S. military service members, veterans and family members. Cadets in service academies and ROTC programs are also eligible. And there are some products, such as banking, that are available to the public and do not require military member affiliation. If you are interested in learning more about the company or membership see the link above.

The list of products and services is extensive, it starts with insurance (auto, life, health, homeowners and even pet insurance) and continues with investments, banking, wealth management, financial planning, etc. The members of USAA live all over the globe and some of the military reside in the most remote areas of the world, so USAA does an excellent job of covering as many needs as they can in order to be that one company contact. They even offer shopping services and flowers to order online as well as mobile banking.

Past Leaders

Mr. Parker will be following in the footsteps of other CEOs, most recently, Joe Robles who leaves behind a positive legacy. Some of the notable accomplishes under his leadership; expanding the marketing of the company to include TV commercial advertisements and sponsoring sporting events. This outward media attention has been well received by the members and public in allowing for a wider audience to become aware of the products that are offered by USAA. Under, General Robles, there has also been a positive local relationship with the communities of San Antonio and Phoenix where the majority of employees are based.

In contrast to General Robles, the prior term of Mr. Bob Davis, was a challenging time. Mr. Davis was remembered as the first CEO to order company layoffs of employees during the years of 2001 and 2002. It was a difficult economic time and the public image and employee reaction left a behind a negative impression during his years.

Selection of CEO

USAA is member-based organization and the selection of CEO is determined by a Board of Directors. It is typical for the company leaders to have prior military service since that is the core of the company's mission. According to the USAA press release, Stuart Parker offered a humble response to the announcement, "After serving USAA's membership in numerous capacities for the past 16 years, I'm deeply honored and humbled to be selected to lead this great organization."

Future challenges

As in all industries, the competition for customers is fierce and companies like GEICO and other discount insurance firms are attracting more attention with cost cutting measures.

USAA recently expanded its face to face approach by expanding more USAA Financial Center in locations that include the following states; California, Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. The Financial Center employees offer guidance on retirement planning, investments, banking and insurance.

The company tag line is "We know what it means to serve." I hope that USAA continues to provide a high standard for all those members and families who serve our country.

Stuart Parker


USAA military members are the focus


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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I learned something new. I've never heard of this organization. Thanks for the education.