The chief executive of USAA announced Tuesday that he would be stepping down from his post.

Stuart Parker, 58, started as CEO in 2015 after serving a brief stint as the company’s first chief operating officer. He will be succeeded by Wayne Peacock, current Property and Casualty Insurance Group president at USAA.

Parker, who served for 10 years in the military, worked at USAA for 21 years, joining the company in 1998. He also worked as the finance chief from 2012 to 2014. 

“From my first interview, I knew working at USAA would be my dream job. The mission and core values continue to resonate with me as we care for military families,” Parker said in an internal memo on Tuesday.

The San Antonio-based company is one of the city’s largest private employers. USAA, which serves current and former members of the military, has 13 million members and 35,000 employees, including more than 18,000 in San Antonio. Founded in 1922 by 25 Army officers, USAA serves current and former military members and their families. Veterans typically serve in administration and leadership positions.

Peacock, 61, will become the first USAA CEO without a military background in the company’s nearly 100-year history.

USAA President of Insurance Wayne Peacock
President of Insurance Wayne Peacock will be the next CEO of USAA

During Parker’s time as CEO at USAA, the company saw a net worth growth of 34 percent, according to the memo. USAA was named a Fortune 100 company for the first time in 2018. And Parker introduced 12 weeks of paid parental leave, paid volunteer days, higher minimum wage, and higher tuition reimbursement, the memo said.

“I feel fortunate to have served our membership and employees,” Parker said in the internal memo Tuesday. “The lessons learned from coworkers, leaders, bosses, mentors, and friends will stay with me forever.”

USAA spokesman Matthew Hartwig said while Parker’s decision to step down was difficult, the retiring executive believed it was the right time to do so.

“He believes Mr. Peacock is the right person for the job and will work with him and the entire leadership team over the next few weeks to ensure a smooth transition and the continued success of USAA,” Hartwig said in an email. “Mr. Parker looks forward to spending more time with family and friends.”

Parker’s successor Peacock has worked at USAA for more than 30 years. During his time as Property and Casualty president, the insurance group’s pre-tax income increased by $1.6 billion, according to the internal memo. He begins his tenure as CEO on Feb. 1, 2020.

“Serving the military is my passion, and it’s an honor to follow a legacy of great leaders, like Stuart, at USAA,” Peacock said in a news release. “I am proud of the 35,000 USAA employees who come together to bring our mission to life by serving our members with excellence every day.”

USAA Board Chairman Admiral Tom Fargo praised Peacock for setting a strong foundation for the company to be a “dynamic, enduring, and compliant company” that will continue to serve its members well.

“Wayne has served in a broad range of key assignments at USAA for over 30 years and is absolutely committed to our members and our employees,” Fargo said in a statement. “His dedication to our mission, deep understanding of the association and strong leadership will guide our company effectively into our second century.”

Jim Syring, USAA’s chief administrative officer and executive vice president, will become president of Property and Casualty. Syring, a retired Navy vice admiral, has been in charge of the company’s technology, security, procurement, and facility operations.

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.