Paul S. Amos II, the son of Aflac’s chairman and CEO — and grandson of one of the company’s three founders — has resigned as president of Aflac, the Columbus-based insurance company said Thursday. He also will leave its board of directors.
The departure of the younger Amos is effective July 1. He plans to take some time off before joining Jordan Blanchard Capital as a partner starting Sept. 1, with that Columbus-based private investment firm being renamed JBA Capital upon his arrival.
“I’m going to take a couple of months just to decompress, and then I’m going to start back up Sept. 1,” Amos said by phone. “But truth be told, I’m ready to go, and I’m excited about this. I just want to build in a little bit of time for the family and build in a little time to kind of transition from one to the other. I’ve been working for Aflac since I was 15 years old.”
Amos, who turns 42 in July, has worked in some form or fashion at the supplemental insurance company since his teens, with his first job that of answering telephones in the firm’s Investor Relations office. He joined the executive ranks in 2005, becoming executive vice president of U.S. operations, followed by a promotion to president and chief operating officer of Aflac U.S. in 2007. It was in 2013 that he was elevated to president of Aflac Inc., which included oversight of the firm’s critical Aflac Japan operation.
“It’s tough leaving the business my grandfather built and my father runs, and I will forever bleed Aflac blue,” Amos said. “But entrepreneurship runs in my genes and that’s really at the heart of my decision to leave. I want to be part of an enterprise I can help scale up and build out.”
At Jordan Blanchard Capital, which focuses on long-term acquisition of quality businesses in the Southeast, Amos said he will be working with small business clients. He will join longtime Columbus businessmen Gunby J. Garrard, who is president of the investment firm, and former Synovus Chairman and CEO Jim Blanchard, along with his son, Billy Blanchard, the former Columbus Bank and Trust president who left Synovus at the end of 2016 to join his father.
“We’re thrilled that Paul is joining us at Jordan Blanchard Capital as a partner in our efforts going forward,” Garrard said in a statement. “His experience and relationships are key to our plans to grow and build great businesses.”
Aflac said that Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Amos, the father of Paul Amos, will assume the title and accompanying responsibilities of Aflac president. Other executives also will take on additional responsibilities.
There are no plans at this time to fill the Aflac president’s job with anyone other than Dan Amos, said Catherine Hernandez-Blades, Aflac’s senior vice president of corporate communications. U.S. regulatory requirements mandate that someone in the firm has to hold the title of president, she said.
Dan Amos, in a statement, commented on his son’s pending departure.
“As a CEO, it has been a privilege to work with Paul and see firsthand all of the contributions he has made to our continuing success in the Japanese market,” he said. “As a father, I wish him the very best as he enters this new chapter.”
Amos noted that his son spent two years living and working in Japan, followed by a year here in Columbus, to position the Japanese operation for future success. The Asian nation contributes roughly 75 percent of the company’s revenues from sales of supplemental health and life insurance policies.
“Paul has been instrumental in preparing the leadership team at Aflac Japan to transition under Masatoshi Koide, who is a strong leader with a solid track record of results,” Dan Amos said. “I fully expect a very smooth transition on July 1 and continued success of our Japan operations under Masatoshi’s leadership and with Charles Lake continuing to serve as chairman of Aflac Japan, as well as Hiroshi Yamauchi serving as vice chairman of Aflac Japan.”
The exit of Paul Amos from Aflac looks to ultimately set the stage for the moment down the road when the insurance company founded in 1955 on Wynnton Road is no longer led by someone with the last name of Amos. The late brothers John, Paul and Bill founded the company on Nov. 17, 1955.
Dan Amos, now 65, joined the company in 1973 and rose steadily through its ranks, becoming CEO in 1990, then adding the chairman’s title in 2001. He also came up with the popular Aflac duck branding campaign that elevated the Columbus firm to star status among customers and investors, contributing heavily to its financial growth. The insurer posted a $2.7 billion profit in 2016 on total revenues of $22.6 billion. Many of the company’s original investors became millionaires through the years.
Blades reiterated previous comments by Dan Amos that he has no plans to retire at this time. He has pledged to work at least until age 70, although she noted that Dan’s father stayed on the payroll until age 75. The ultimate successor for the revered CEO will be determined by the firm’s board of directors and its governance committee, she said.
“The whole planning process is very robust, very in-depth, and will not change with Paul’s resignation,” Blades said.
Paul Amos himself stressed he could not speculate on when his father might leave the CEO’s office atop the office tower on Wynnton Road.
“First of all, Dan Amos retiring in five years would shock me,” he said. “We as the Amos family have always felt blessed to be a part of the leadership team here. And I just know that as a shareholder I’m very excited to see Dan continue his rein here and continue to be the great leader that he is and who I’ve had the opportunity to learn underneath.”
Paul Amos, who expressed happiness that his move to JBA Capital will keep him and his family in Columbus, still called his preparation to leave the company bittersweet. On one hand, he is looking forward to working again with small businesses that have an entrepreneurial spirit. At one point in his career at Aflac, he was the state sales coordinator for Aflac’s Georgia-North operation, which grew to become the company’s No. 1 operation.
On the other hand, he acknowledged, there will be some emotion walking out the door.
“While my family, my grandmother and my father, they’re all supportive, it’s still a bit of a sad day. It’s hard to leave Aflac,” he said.
“I’ve been here for 15 years,” Paul Amos said. “I feel like it has been an incredible honor and opportunity. I will forever be grateful for what I have learned and what has happened here from a professional experience perspective at Aflac. It will forever define me professionally. But at the same time, I’m excited about this new chapter, and I’m excited about the opportunity to make a big impact and work with some real quality people to make a difference over at JBA Capital.”
Paul Amos earned a total compensation package of just over $6.6 million in 2016, according to company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. That included an annual salary of $700,000 and non-equity incentive plan compensation of more than $1.5 million. The balance was comprised of stock options, awards and other perks.