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CEO Details Turnaround Plan.

Conseco Inc. Chief Executive Officer Gary C.Wendt, who was brought in last June to turn the company around, said the company's insurance operations need to grow by 10% a year through 2004 to return to the results last seen in 1997, the year before the company began to experience financial troubles.

Wendt said two-thirds of that growth will come from cost reductions. And Conseco Finance Co., its credit and mortgage lending arm, must earn an interest rate of an additional 25 basis points on its loans as the company works to return to profitability, he said.

Conseco posted a 9.5% jump in first-quarter net income, largely on the strength of cost-cutting and a one-time gain from the sale of its stake in a riverboat operation. Firstquarter net income rose to $80.2 million, compared with a year earlier.

Wendt has restructured operations, sold off noncore assets and instituted management processes that he used in his former position as president, chairman and CEO of GE Capital Services.

Among the changes:

* Nonstrategic assets valued at $2 billion were sold. "It's not to our advantage to own Van Gogh paintings or the biggest air force east of the Mississippi,"Wendt said, referring to the sale of the corporate art collection and private planes.

* The corporate staff has been reduced to 250 positions from 750.

* More than 2,000 data processing jobs will be moved to India.

Conseco Inc.

A.M. Best #: 69862

Rating: Subsidiaries rated A-

Headquarters: Carmel, Ind.

Lines of Business: Life, group accident & health, supplemental health, annuities, major medical
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Title Annotation:Gary C. Wendt of Conseco
Comment:CEO Details Turnaround Plan.(Gary C. Wendt of Conseco)
Author:Ostermiller, Marilyn
Publication:Best's Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2001
Words:260
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