President's Message (July 28, 2011)

Dear Academy colleague,

I'm pleased to announce that the Academy's annual election to fill three open regular director positions on the board of directors will be held, for the first time, online from August 3 to September 2. Also on the ballot at that time will be two bylaws amendments—one implementing the profession-wide changes to the discipline process that I have described to you in earlier communications, and another that shortens what is in effect a four-year term of the presidential office by one year as a result of removing the position of penultimate past president from the Academy Board of Directors.

Members will receive an email from Survey & Balloting Systems (SBS) containing electronic voting instructions. The email will be sent on August 3, 2011. By adding the email address below to your "white list" or "safe senders" list, you can ensure that this important information will not be misdirected by a spam filter. Consult your IT department or call the Academy's membership services department for more information.

From/Sender: FNA Election Coordinator
Email address:

We hope that moving the election from the Annual Meeting to a secure, online ballot will expand participation and involvement from Academy membership.

Changes in the Nomination and Election procedures and processes

As you recall, we made several changes to the nominating process this year. As President, I expanded the size and scope of the Nominating Committee. It included each of the presidential officers of the Academy, the immediate past presidents of each of the other U.S.-based actuarial organizations, and three regular directors, one from each class of the Academy's regular directors.

In addition, the board agreed to explore for this year's election a process by which members could submit petitions (minimum of 50 signatures from members representing a minimum of five employers) to seek nomination for a regular director position on the Board. This was in addition to the existing process by which members can suggest names (theirs or others) directly to the Nominating Committee and/or the Nominating Committee can reach out directly to potential candidates in an effort to ensure the board represents all practice areas and all employer types with a diverse group of strong and qualified advocates for the profession.

While no member this year chose to submit a nominating petition, members did communicate directly with the Nominating Committee to indicate an interest in serving on the board. While this year's elections for regular director will be uncontested, I am pleased that we are testing an online election to ensure that the entire membership can participate more easily than was possible in the past when elections were held at the Academy's Annual Meeting. I hope our online election this year will generate significant interest in the membership at large in all Academy matters, including volunteer service on a committee or task force and/or serving the profession as a member of the Academy's leadership team.

In light of the new election procedures instituting nominations and online voting for regular director candidates prior to the Annual Meeting, the Academy no longer will call for nominations from the floor during the Annual Meeting. Instead, results of the elections for open positions for regular director on the Academy Board of Directors now will be announced at the Annual Meeting. For more information on attending the 2011 Academy Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon, please visit:

Nominees for Regular Director

After extensive deliberation, the Nominating Committee decided to present the following three candidates to the Academy membership for election to three-year terms as regular directors of the board of directors:

  • Mary Bahna-Nolan (three-year regular director term to be completed in 2014)
  • Ken Kent (three-year regular director term to be completed in 2014)
  • Cathy Murphy-Barron (three-year regular director term to be completed in 2014)

I'm sure many of you have met and/or worked with Mary, Ken, or Cathy over the years. For those who are not familiar with them, the Election Center on the Academy website and the online ballot on which you'll be voting will have a biography and background information. In addition, the Nominating Committee this year asked all prospective nominees to provide two personal statements: "Why I want to serve on the Academy board of directors" and "What I believe are the most important issues facing the American Academy of Actuaries." You can read those statements in the Election Center on the Academy website and/or on the online ballot on which you'll be voting.

Nominees for Academy Officers and Vice Presidents

As you may know, the Nominating Committee also presents a slate of candidates for the vice presidents and presidential officers to the board, which directly elects those positions at its own annual meeting of the board.

The candidate for president-elect is Cecil Bykerk. Cecil is a well-known leader with extensive expertise on domestic health care issues in the United States, which the Committee believes will continue to be a strong focus of Academy public policy work in the coming years. He also has many years of experience in the international arena, which the Committee anticipates will be another important focus of Academy work—particularly in the standards area. In addition to his current role as President of the International Association of Actuaries, Cecil is a former member and chairperson of the Actuarial Standards Board.

With respect to other open officer positions, the Nominating Committee sought input from all the present Academy officers; both those whose terms are ending this fall and those who will remain on the board. Their thoughtful and substantial responses and perspectives on possible candidates were of immense value to the committee. I am pleased to note that each of the resulting nominees for officer positions is an active Academy volunteers. They will bring continuity of leadership to their respective practice areas. The complete list of officers-nominees on which the board of directors will be voting on October 28 is:

President-Elect Cecil Bykerk
Secretary Stephen Rosen
Treasurer John Schubert
Vice President/Life Cande Olsen
Vice President/Pension John Moore
Vice President/Risk Management and Financial Reporting Maryellen Coggins


You'll be able to read more about our nominees for president-elect and the three open vice president positions in a future issue of Actuarial Update.

In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, I'd like to note that Cande Olsen, the nominee for Vice President/Life, served as a member of the Nominating Committee, representing the regular director class of 2012. Cande did not initially seek nomination for Vice President/Life and, when her name was suggested by (many) others, she eventually agreed to be considered and recused herself from all subsequent discussions and votes on the Vice President/Life nomination.

Vote on Two Proposed Bylaws Amendments

In addition to voting on the nominees for the three open regular director positions, you will be able to vote on two amendments to the Academy bylaws.

Both amendments were approved by the board of directors at its May 25 meeting. One question, which results from the board's ongoing review and consideration of the October 2010 report of the Governance Task Force, removes the position of Penultimate Past President from the Academy Board of Directors, which reduces the overall time commitment for board service by the Academy president from four years to three (President-Elect term, Presidential term, Immediate Past President term).

The specific question on the ballot reads:

Do you approve the proposed amendments to Article III of the Academy Bylaws removing the Penultimate Past President from the Board of Directors, as recommended by the Board of Directors at its May 25, 2011 meeting?

The second question results from the Academy's work with the other U.S.-based actuarial organizations, through the Council of U.S. Presidents, to reform the disciplinary process.

The specific question on the ballot reads:

Do you approve the proposed amendments to Article IX of the Academy Bylaws relating to discipline, as recommended by the Board of Directors at its May 25, 2011 meeting?

You can read more about each of these questions, and review the specific changes, by visiting the Election Center on the Academy website or reviewing the online material when you vote your ballot.

In Conclusion

I recognize this has been a lengthy communication. I appreciate that your time is valuable, but I also recognize that so many of our members care deeply about the governance of the Academy and the course of the profession. Many of the changes we implemented this year to the nominations and elections processes were adopted by the board of directors as a one-year test. While no member took advantage of the nomination-by-petition process, and while we do not have competitive elections for regular directors this year, we believe that moving toward an online election is an important step. I hope you will demonstrate your interest and take the time to vote on both our three regular director nominees and our two bylaws amendments.

I would like to thank the members of the Nominating Committee—Thomas Finnegan, Roger Hayne, Ken Hohman, S. Michael McLaughlin, Mary D. Miller, Cande Olsen, Jeffrey Petertil, David Sandberg, Lawrence Sher—who, under the leadership of Chairperson John Parks, have done an exceptional job in identifying future leaders of the Academy.

If you have questions or comments, as always, you can share them with us via email to The board will consider these messages in evaluating nominations and elections for 2012 and beyond.

It has been my honor and privilege to serve you, the Academy, and the entire profession this year as President of the American Academy of Actuaries. I am gratified by the strong interest members have shown in so much of what the Academy does. I am proud to be ushering in an era of expanded nominations and elections. And I am confident that your 2012 board and officers will continue to serve you and the profession well.



Mary Frances Miller
American Academy of Actuaries