New York Times

 

Union-Owned Insurer to Name New Leader

 

 

 

 

By STEVEN GREENHOUSE

May 7, 2003

 

Union leaders said yesterday that the board of Ullico, the embattled union-owned insurer, would elect Terence M. O'Sullivan, president of the laborers' union, as Ullico's new chairman and chief executive tomorrow.

 

Mr. O'Sullivan would replace Robert A. Georgine, who announced two weeks ago that he would step aside as chairman, after he was widely criticized for heading the board when its directors made more than $6 million in profits trading Ullico stock. Mr. Georgine, former president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s building trades department, said at the time that he intended to remain as Ullico's chief executive and president.

 

But several labor leaders who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the unopposed 15-person slate of directors that will be elected tomorrow and will control Ullico's board has decided to elect Mr. O'Sullivan as Ullico's next chairman and chief executive.

 

Mr. O'Sullivan and the slate, these labor leaders said, have also decided to elect a financial professional to run Ullico day to day, signaling, they said, that Mr. Georgine's days as president would be limited. Ullico officials say that because of the company's major financial losses, Ullico, which focuses on providing insurance and services to unions and their members, needs a cash infusion of $50 million or more.

 

Several union leaders who helped develop the slate said Ullico needed new leadership because of the embarrassment caused by the stock trading scandal and because Ullico has fallen into deep financial trouble. A special counsel hired by the company, James A. Thompson, the former governor of Illinois, concluded in an investigative report that Mr. Georgine and more than a dozen other Ullico directors had violated their fiduciary duties by buying Ullico stock and then reselling it at a huge profit.

 

Mr. O'Sullivan, who has headed the Laborers' International Union of North America for three years, was one of the Ullico board members most active in trying to resolve the stock trading scandal. He served on a special committee of directors that voted 6 to 2 against requiring the directors who made trading profits to return that money. Mr. O'Sullivan was one of the two directors who voted to require that the profits be returned.

 

As the leader of the laborers, a building trades union with 800,000 members, Mr. O'Sullivan has been widely praised for his efforts to clean up a union that in the 1980's was considered one of the nation's most corrupt labor organizations.


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