Pre-Paid Legal (PPD) founder steps down as CEO

by louabbott on March 4, 2010

This press release was circulated earlier today:

ADA, Okla., March 3 — Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (NYSE: PPD) announced today that effective April 2, 2010, its founder and current Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of the Board, Mr. Harland C. Stonecipher, 71, will relinquish the title and responsibilities of Chief Executive Officer and President. At the suggestion of Mr. Stonecipher, the Board of Directors unanimously approved that the title and responsibilities of Chief Executive Officer will be shared equally by two co-CEOs – Randy Harp, 54, Pre-Paid’s current Chief Operating Officer, and Mark Brown, 56, Pre-Paid’s current Chief Marketing Officer. The Board also named Mr. Harp as Pre-Paid’s President.

Mr. Harp was named Chief Financial Officer in March 1990 and served in that capacity until May 2000 and has served as Chief Operating Officer since March 1996. Mr. Harp served on the Board of Directors from March 1990 until May 2004 when he resigned from the Board of Directors as part of a corporate governance initiative required by the rules of the NYSE to have independent, outside directors comprise the majority of the Board. Mr. Harp will continue to serve as Chief Operating Officer.

Mr. Brown was named Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer in October 2006. Prior to his appointment to the new position, Mr. Brown was our National Sales Director for Group Marketing and Senior Regional Vice President for most of the State of Texas and has been one of our independent associates for 15 years. Prior to his association with us, Mr. Brown owned his own printing business for 18 years.

“Both Mark and Randy are ready and have earned the opportunity to assume the responsibilities as Pre-Paid’s co-CEOs,” stated Mr. Stonecipher. “Randy has been with us for 20 years and knows every aspect of our business. Randy’s primary focus will continue to be on operations and I am completely confident in his ability to continue to develop and maintain the efficiencies and excellence of our operational capabilities. We are equally blessed to have someone with Mark’s significant sales and extensive experience lead our marketing efforts. Mark’s involvement has been an integral part of our success since he joined us in 1995 with a focus on both individual and group business. We look to Mark to implement marketing strategies throughout our entire sales organization and play a key role in the continued development of our company.”

Mr. Stonecipher will continue as Chairman of the Board and will remain actively involved with the Company, focused entirely on Pre-Paid’s sales force and other strategic areas. Mr. Stonecipher and his wife Shirley will also be working towards the establishment of a memorial cathedral for parents that have lost a child. The Stoneciphers want to build a memorial place where parents can come from anywhere to establish a memorial to the children they have lost that will live on even after the parents are gone, assuring those parents that even when they are gone, the memory of their child or children will live on. The Stoneciphers lost their youngest son, Brent, his wife, Tina, and only granddaughter, Nikki, in an airplane crash in Ada in July, 2005.

Also, see our Pre-Paid Legal Services Inc.: Facts, News, and Reviews overview.

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