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 SAN ANTONIO, July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- USAA Chairman and CEO Robert F. McDermott today announced the final phase of the company's leadership succession plan which was approved by the USAA board in 1991. McDermott said that Robert T. Herres, currently the vice chairman, president and COO of USAA and the attorney-in-fact of the reciprocal inter-insurance exchange, will take over as chairman and CEO effective Sept. 1, 1993.
 McDermott, 72, will become chairman emeritus. He will continue to participate in local community, state and national projects, and he will represent USAA in various activities as requested by the new chairman and board of directors.
 "USAA has posted an outstanding record under Bob Herres' direction as chief operating officer," said McDermott. "The invaluable experience and knowledge he has gained over the years as a board member and in his current role have prepared him well to lead USAA into the next century."
 Herres, 60, joined USAA in April of 1990 after 36 years of active military service. Since 1983 he has served on the USAA Board of Directors, and became its vice chairman in 1985. He is a retired U.S. Air Force general and former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
 McDermott, who marks his 25th year with USAA this year, announced his plans to his management group today at their regular monthly meeting. "USAA like others in our industry, faces many challenges, both in the short and long term," he said. "We evolved from just an insurance company to a diversified financial services organization to better serve our members' needs and to ensure financial strength. Because of this our challenges are on many fronts, including our interests in tourism, civic responsibilities, education and even professional sports. These will constitute my focus following this transition," he added.
 McDermott joined USAA in 1968 and took over its leadership in 1969. Under his leadership, USAA grew to offer a full spectrum of insurance and financial services, including property and casualty insurance, life insurance, mutual fund and real estate investment, banking services and much more to its membership which had grown to more than 2.4 million.
 Some measures of USAA's growth include: going from 2,600 employees in 1968 to well over 15,000 worldwide; climbing from the nation's 16th to the 5th largest insurer of private automobiles and to the nation's 4th largest homeowners insurer; and increasing owned and managed assets from about $200 million to almost $30 billion.
 McDermott added one of the strongest thrifts (USAA Federal Savings Bank) in the country, the nation's best overall credit card, according to the Nilson report, 24 mutual funds, a high-rise retirement community, and investments in Fiesta, Texas, the San Antonio Spurs and planned development of La Cantera as an entertainment destination.
 Independent rating services and agencies continually rate USAA at or near the top.
 Among these, A.M. Best, state insurance departments, the Malcolm Baldrige award competition, Consumer Union surveys and Ralph Nader sing USAA's praise.
 USAA was named as one of the top five companies in America to work for in a book published in 1993, and was ranked 21st among Fortune magazine's top 50 diversified financial services companies in 1993. In addition, USAA was singled out as the insurance company "that serves you best" in its May 31 issue.
 -0- 7/22/93
 /CONTACT: Hal Schade of USAA, 210-498-1483/


IH-KD -- DC016 -- 4550 07/22/93 12:35 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 22, 1993

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